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281.1 F252 v. 55 
Fathers of the Church. 

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The Catholic University of America Queens College 



Translated by 

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Censor Librorum 



Archbishop of New York 

September 17, 1957 

Copyright 1957 by 

475 Fifth Avenue. New York 17, N. Y. 

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Lithography by Bishop Litho, Inc. 
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Augustine proposes to defend the doctrine of orig- 
inal sin set forth in Book 1 of De nuptiis et concu- 
piscentia, against Bishop Julian, who had attacked 
it in four volumes and who had called its defenders 
Manichaeans. Such a charge would fall, therefore, 
upon the most famous of the Fathers, Greek and 
Latin, as Augustine shows by citing their own testi- 
mony, with particular explanation of passages from 
Basil and John Chrysostom which Julian believes 
favor his view. Actually, it is certain rash statements 
of Julian that strongly support the Manichaean 

BOOK 2 55 

Augustine refutes the five arguments of the Pela- 
gians against original sin from the pronouncements 
of earlier famous Church authorities: the ten il- 
lustrious bishops Irenaeus, Reticius, Olympius, 
Hilary, Gregory Nazianzen, Ambrose, Basil, John 
of Constantinople, Innocent, and Jerome. 


BOOK 3 105 

Augustine answers Book 1 of Julian so that it be- 
comes clear that, although the true and good God 
is the Creator of men, and marriage is good and is 
instituted by God, yet the concupiscence by which 
the flesh lusts against the spirit is evil. Conjugal 
modesty uses this evil well, and more holy con- 
tinence does better by not using it at all. This evil 
is not in us from another substance which God did 
not make, as the Manichaeans say, but arose and 
is transmitted through the disobedience of Adam, 
and is expiated and healed through the obedience 
of Christ. Everyone born incurs a deserved punish- 
ment in bondage to this evil; the reborn is released 
from it by a gratuitous grace. He shows from 
Julian's own words that lust is evil, for Julian 
acknowledges remedies against it, wants it to be 
restrained by reason, and says that glorious combats 
are fought against it by the continent. 

BOOK 4 167 

Augustine considers each argument in this reply to 
Julian's Book 2, omitting only those statements that 
have no bearing on the question. He proves two 
things: that the virtues of unbelievers are not true 
virtues; and that concupiscence is evil. Through his 
opponent's very argument he also proves this from 
the words of the Gentiles. He shows how grace is 
not given according to merits, yet may not be at- 
tributed to fate; and how we are to understand the 
words of the Apostle that God wishes all men to 
be saved. 


BOOK 5 241 

In dealing with Julian's Book 3, Augustine shows 
first why Christians despise the new heresy which 
rejects original sin. Concupiscence does not deserve 
praise merely because man's disobedience is pun- 
ished through it; it is a fault and, even in those 
who do not consent to its wicked activities, it is al- 
ways evil. He shows how we should understand 
the words of the Apostle: 'That each one may know 
how to possess his vessel/ and so forth. There is 
true marriage without union of bodies, as was the 
marriage of Mary and Joseph. Julian's attempt to 
argue by Aristotelean Categories against the sin 
derived from our first parents is without avail. 
Augustine shows how the flesh of Christ differs 
from the flesh of other men. Catholics by no means 
favor the Manichaeans when they acknowledge 
original sin and the evil of lust; this is true, instead, 
of the Pelagians when they say: 'Sins do not arise 
from that which is free from sin/ 

BOOK 6 307 

Augustine answers Book 4 of Julian, as well as his 
cavilings and calumnies against De nuptiis. That 
man is born with sin is shown from the baptism of 
infants, from the rite of exorcism and exsufflation 
in the baptism of infants, from the words of the 
Apostle to the Romans and the Corinthians. The 
aptness of the illustration of the olive and the 
oleaster shows how from regenerated and just 
parents are born children who must be regenerated. 
Original sin was voluntary in the first parents; in 


us it is another's sin by the ownership of action, 
but it is our sin by the contagion of offspring. It 
is because of this sin that the human race from 
infancy is afflicted by these great miseries, and that 
infants who die without the grace of regeneration 
are excluded from the kingdom of God. Sanctifica- 
tion is now conferred through baptism on both soul 
and body, yet the corruption of the body, which 
also presses down the soul itself, is not removed 
in this life. He shows how concupiscence remains 
in act, passes in guilt; and he gives the Catholic 
interpretation of the Apostle Paul which Julian ex- 
pounded in an incorrect sense. 





JT. AUGUSTINE WROTE this work in the closing years 
of a life busied with three great controversies 
Manichaeism, Donatism, Pelagianism, the last end- 
ing with the Contra Julianum and the Opus imperfectum 
contra Julianum. The year 411, which, for all practical pur- 
poses, saw the end of Donatism a result largely due to 
Augustine finds him beginning in earnest the conflict with 
Pelagianism, which was to occupy his time in sermons and a 
number of important writings for the rest of his days. 

The Council of Carthage (411) condemned the teachings 
of Celestius, the disciple of Pelagius. The councils of Carthage 
were sleeplessly active against the errors of Pelagianism, for, 
when the doctrines of Pelagius were accepted by John, Bishop 
of Jerusalem, and also by the Council of Diospolis as in har- 
mony with the teaching of the Church, a new Council of 
Carthage (416) reaffirmed the previous condemnation. This 
action and a similar action by the Council of Milevis (416), 
at which Augustine was present, urged Pope Innocent I to 
ratify their decision. When word came from the Pope that 
on January 27, 417, he had condemned Pelagius and Ce- 
lestius, Augustine in the course of a sermon proclaimed 



thankfully and wistfully: 'Inde etiam rescripta venerunt, 
causa finita est. Utinam aliquando finiatur error.' The usual 
form of the statement, 'Roma locuta, causa finita' is, ac- 
cording to Battifol, 'less rich in tenor than the authentic ver- 
sion.' 1 'Utinam aliquando finiatur error' had not been fully 
realized, for it required another Council of Carthage (418), 
with its nine canons summarizing the Catholic teaching on 
the important points of original sin, the need and action of 
grace, denial of the unlimited power of the human will, and 
considerable letter-writing, before Pope Zosimus in Epistola 
Tractoria, issued in May, 418, approved the council's 
action and condemned the Pelagian teachings. 

Eighteen Italian bishops refused to sign the Pope's docu- 
ment, and they were excommunicated and deposed. Julian, 
Bishop of Eclanum, was the leader of the dissident group. 
According to Cayre, Julian was 'a fine humanist, keenly in- 
terested in all matters of speculation, somewhat pedantic, who 
exalted the rights of reason to the detriment of faith.' 2 St. 
Augustine characterized Julian: ( in disputatione loquacissi- 
mus, in contentione calumniosissimus, in professione fallacissi- 

mus.' 3 

This discussion from 418 to the year of Augustine's death, 
430, between two persons who never met during this time, 
is best set forth in three sources from Augustine's writings: 
The Preface to the Opus imperfectum contra Julianum, 
where he states briefly what he had in mind in the Contra 
Julianum; in the eighty-eighth heresy described in De hae- 
resibus, in which we have his understanding of the doctrines 
of Pelagianism; and the Contra Julianum itself, giving Au- 
gustine's specific purpose and plan. The Preface follows: 

'I wrote a book entitled De nuptiis et concupiscentia to 

1 P. Battifol, Le Catholicising de Saint Augustine (Paris, 1924) 404. 

2 F. Cayr, Manual of Patrology and History of Theology I (Belgium, 
1956) 652. 

5 Sermo 151.10. 


Count Valerius against the Pelagian heretics, who assert that, 
even if Adam had not sinned, he would have died in body, 
and that the human race was not vitiated in him whence 
it follows that they contend that death, deadly diseases, 
and all the evils which we see infants also suffer, would have 
existed in paradise, even if no one had sinned. I wrote this 
book because I knew the report had reached him that the 
Pelagians say we condemn marriage. In this book, using my 
strongest arguments, I distinguished the good of marriage 
from the evil of carnal concupiscience, which conjugal 
modesty uses well. When the illustrious Valerius had received 
this book, he sent me a memorandum containing several 
statements selected from the work of Julian, a Pelagian 
heretic who thought to answer in four volumes the one 
volume which, as I said, I wrote about marriage and concu- 
piscence. These statements were sent to Valerius by some 
unknown person who had taken it upon himself to select 
what he chose arbitrarily from Julian's first volume. Valerius 
asked me to answer them as soon as possible, and thus I 
came to write a second volume under the same title. Julian, 
with his usual prolixity, composed eight more volumes against 
it. These volumes I shall now answer in his own words, re- 
plying to the individual passages that seem to call for refu- 
tation, although, after I received his four volumes, I refuted 
them sufficiently and fully and in six volumes.' 4 

In Contra Juliuanum, Augustine sets forth his purpose : 
'I shall so arrange my argument that I may first show 
how many great doctors of the Catholic Church you do not 
hesitate to insult intolerably by the name of Manichaeans, 
attacking them with me and hurling your sacrilegious weapons 
against them. Then I shall show that you yourself so support 
the damnably and abominably impious error of the Mani- 
chaeans that they cannot find such a defender even among 

4 Migne, Patrologia Latina 45. 


their own adherents. In the third place, as briefly as I can, 
I shall refute all your subtleties and elaborate arguments, 
not by my own statements, but by those of men who lived 
before us and defended the Catholic faith against the wicked. 
Finally, since, if you do not reform, it will be necessary for 
you to attack even those doctors of the Catholic Church and 
to contend that not even they held the Catholic truth in 
this matter, I shall, God helping me, defend their faith and 
ours against you. And here even this shall become clear, 
that not only you in your own words, which I said I would 
prove in the second place, but the very doctrine of Pelagian- 
ism, which is common to all of you, greatly supports 
Manichaeism.' 5 

Augustine stresses in the first two books the traditional 
teaching of the Church as found in the Fathers, in contrast 
to the rationalism of Pelagianism. His reaction to their teach- 
ing is thus expressed: 'It would be more endurable if with 
your evil tongue you tore to pieces our names than our faith 
through whose merit our names are written in heaven.' 6 

Augustine at the end of the second book gives a brief 
summary of the important doctrines discussed: 

'But now let us briefly sum up as best we can what we 
have discussed throughout this whole book. We proposed 
here by the weight of authority of holy men, who were 
bishops before us, and strenuously defended the Catholic 
faith not only by their words while they were living in this 
world, but also by their writings which they left for posterity, 
to refute your arguments in which you say: "If God creates 
men, they cannot be born with any evil. If marriage is good, 
nothing evil arises from it. If all sins are forgiven in baptism, 
those born of the reborn cannot contract original sin. If God 
is just, He cannot condemn in the children the sins of the 

5 See below, 1.1.3. 

6 See below 1.4.13. 


parents, since He forgives the parents their own sins as 
well. If human nature is capable of perfect justice, it cannot 
have natural faults." To this we reply that God is the Creator 
of men, that is, of both soul and body; and that marriage 
is good; and that through the baptism of Christ all sins 
are forgiven; and that God is just; and that human nature 
is capable of perfect justice. Yet, although all these things are 
true, men are born subject to the vitiated origin which is 
derived from the first man, and therefore go to damnation 
unless they are reborn in Christ. And this we have proved 
by the authority of Catholic saints who assert what we say 
about original sin and also confess that all these five state- 
ments are true. Therefore, it does not follow that this is false 
because those are true. Indeed, such great men according 
to the Catholic faith, which of old was spread throughout 
the world, confirm the truth both of this and of those; and 
so your fragile and, as it were, oversubtle novelty is crushed 
by their authority alone, in addition to what they say, so 
that truth itself bears witness that it is speaking through them. 
But now your obstinacy must first be checked by their au- 
thority, and checked in your presumptuous attack, and in 
some way wounded, so that when you finally believe that such 
men of God could not commit such an error in the Catholic 
faith that they would say something from which it would 
follow that God is not the Creator of men, that marriage is 
to be condemned, that not all sins are forgiven in baptism, 
that God is unjust, that we have no hope of perfect virtue 
all or any of which it is wicked to think you may restrain 
your headlong boldness, and, as it were, recovering from 
madness, may begin to consider and recognize and resume 
the truth in which you were nurtured.' 7 

A statement of the issue involved and one of a number of 
efforts made by Augustine to bring Julian to the truth: 'I 

7 See below, 259.31. 


beg you to consider now, I say now, so that wholesome truth 
may win you over. Put aside all craving for victory and 
consider whether you ought to accept our opinion rather than 
yours. The whole point between us in this controversy is 
whether the thing of which good use is made is good or evil. 
In this controversy I do not want you to reject the outstanding 
judges who, as I have shown above, are learned in sound 
doctrine, and have impartially expressed sentence on this mat- 
ter ... Listen once more to my short and clear answer. When 
I say this concupiscence is a disease, why do you deny it, 
if you concede that a remedy for it is necessary? If you ac- 
knowledge the remedy, acknowledge the disease. If you deny 
the disease, deny the remedy. I beg you, yield at last to the 
truth which even you yourself have spoken. No one provides 
a remedy for health.' 9 

'Does lust deserve to have both your friendship and your 
opposition, so that you attack it in yourself yet defend it 
against me? Your opposition is latent; your friendship is 
patent; the latent makes the patent suspect. How can you 
ask us to believe in this warfare you say you wage under 
cover when we see your friendship in the open? How do you 
want us to think you oppose the sting of lust when you 
fill books with the praise of lust? But I shall overcome my 
suspicion. I believe you attack what you praise, but I am sorry 
to see you praise what you attack. From this evil, then, and 
with it, is generated man, whom you deny is saved by re- 
generation. For this is the evil which the married use well, 
and which celibates do better in not using at all. If that by 
which the flesh lusts against the spirit and which you also 
admit the legion of Apostles combatted is an evil, it follows 
that when the married make good use of it they cannot be 
using a good well, but an evil. Children generated from and 
with this evil are to be regenerated so that they may be 

8 Sec below, 3.21.42. 


delivered from evil. Their parents were also born guilty of this 
original evil, though they were delivered from the guilt by 
rebirth. What would we have them beget, not from that 
whence they were reborn, but from that whence they were 
born, except what they themselves were at birth? There- 
fore, they beget the guilty, and, since they generate from 
that whence they were born, they cannot generate something 
different from what they themselves were at birth. But, 
whence they were reborn, thence they were delivered from 
the guilt with which they were born. Therefore, the off- 
spring which liberated parents generate as guilty must itself 
be delivered by that same regeneration, because as guilty was 
it born from the evil which the reborn use well in order that 
men may be born to be regenerated. If you do not combat 
this evil, believe those who are combating it. If you also 
do so, acknowledge the adversary and do not in praising the 
disease hold as a friend what in combat experience shows 
to be an enemy.' 9 

A concise resume of the discussion and a final appeal to 
Julian to accept the truth closes the work: 

'If you are not too obstinate, Julian, I believe you will 
see I have answered and refuted all the arguments you have 
brought forth in your four volumes to show that we should 
not believe in original sin, and that we cannot regard the 
concupiscience of the flesh as evil without also condemning 
marriage. It has been shown that he alone is not bound by 
the ancient paternal debt who has changed inheritance and 
father; where he who is himself adopted through grace dis- 
covers the sole co-heir who is heir through nature; that carnal 
concupiscence does not inflict death after death on him alone 
who in the death of Christ has found the death by which 
he dies to sin and escapes the death by which he had been 
born in sin. 

9 See below, 8.26.66. 


'One died for all, therefore all have died; and He died 
for all. Nor can there ever live any for whom He did not 
die, who, Himself alive, died for the dead. Denying these 
things, attacking them, trying to destroy these defenses of 
the Catholic faith and to rend the very sinews of the Christian 
religion and of true godliness, you dare assert you are waging 
war on the ungodly, when as a matter of fact you are using 
the weapons of ungodliness against the mother who gave birth 
to you spiritually. You dare join the line of the holy Patriarchs, 
Prophets, Apostles, martyrs, and priests, even when the Patri- 
archs say to you: Sacrifices for sins were offered even for 
new-born infants; not even an infant of one day upon the 
earth is clean of sin; when the Prophets say to you: "We are 
conceived in iniquities"; when the Apostles say to you: "All 
we who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been 
baptized into his death," so that "we are dead to sin but 
alive to God in Christ Jesus" ; when the martyrs say to you : 
"Those born carnally according to Adam contract the con- 
tagion of the ancient death in their first birth, so that not 
their own, but another's sins are remitted for infants in bap- 
tism"; when the priests say to you: "Those formed in carnal 
pleasure come under the contagion of sins even before they 
experience the gift of this life." You presume to associate 
yourself with these men whose faith you seek to destroy. You 
say that any association with the Manichaeans would conquer 
you, yet you have so strengthened them that you and they 
stand or fall together. You are mistaken, my son, wretchedly 
mistaken, if not also detestably mistaken. When you over- 
come the animosity that possesses you, you will possess the 
truth that has overcome you.' 10 

We might say Pelagianism is age-old. For man it began 
in the primal transgression and it will be young until the 
last transgression is recorded. That is why this work of Au- 

10 See below, 6.26.83, 


gustine will always have actuditL And since this perennially 
present and personal subject is given in the clear presentation 
and masterly method of the Bishop of Hippo, we have 
something that is as absorbing as it is enlightening. To 
many, St. Augustine is here at his best as genius and teacher; 
the work is a sort of synthesis of the great truths he medi- 
tated so long and so well and expressed so helpfully for all 
who would know how to do, resting firmly on a knowledge of 
what to do. A constant storm, this life, but reasonable peace 
here, and assured peace in due and unending days. 

The text used for the Contra Julianum is that of Migne. 
As there stated, this text has been compared with various 
manuscripts, especially the five Vatican and eight Gallican 
manuscripts. The comparatively few variant readings in 
these are of no special significance. 

Thanks and appreciation are due to Ann Condit, Ph.D., 
for assistance in the production of the translation; and to 
Stella Lange, Ph.D., for collaboration in part. They were 
both students of mine in the School of Theology at St. 
Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana. 


Sancti Aurelii Augustini Hipponensis Opera Omnia, ed. J. P. 
Migne, in Patrologia Latina 44 (Paris 1865) , cols. 641-874. 

Secondary Writings: 

Battifol, P., Le catholicisme de saint Augustin (Paris 1924) . 
Cayre", F., Manual of Patrology and History of Theology 1 (Paris 

1936) . 
Froget, J., 'Julien d'Eclane,' Dictionnaire de thtologie catholique 

8 (Paris 1927), cols. 1926-1931. 


Gilson, E., Introduction a I'ttude de saint Augustin (Paris 1943) . 
Healy, P., 'Julian of Eclanum,' Catholic Encyclopedia 8 (New York 

1913) 557-558. 
Hedde, R., and E. Amann, 'Pelagianisme/ Dictionnaire de theologie 

catholique 12 (Paris 1927) , cols. 702-707. 
Julian of Eclanum, Liber subnotationum in verba Juliani; Dissertatio 

prima; Dissertatio sexta, ed. J. P. Migne, in Patrologia Latino, 

48 (Paris 1865), cols. 121-171, 277-286, 622-626. 
Noris, H. Cardinal, Historia Pelagiana (Padua 1873) . 
Pohle, J., 'Pelagius and Pelagianism/ Catholic Encyclopedia 11 (New 

York 1913) 607-608. 
Portal ie, E., 'Augustine of Hippo/ Catholic Encyclopedia 2 (New 

York 1913), 84-104. 
Portalie, E., 'Augustin (saint) ,' Dictionnaire de theologie catholique 

1 (Paris 1927), cols. 2268-2472. 
Tillemont, L. de, Memoirs pour servir a I'histoire ecclesiastique 

(Paris 1710). 
Tixeront, J., History of Dogma 2 (St. Louis 1923). 



Translated by 


St. Mary's College 
Notre Dame, Indiana 


Chapter 1 

SHOULD LIE IF I SAID that I despise your insults 
and evil words, Julian, which you breathed forth, 
|i|BB ^ B burning with wrath, in your four books. For how 
could I despise them, when I see, in considering the testi- 
mony of my conscience, that I ought either to rejoice for 
myself or to grieve for you and for those whom you deceive? 
Who, indeed, despises the occasion of his rejoicing or grief? 
And we by no means despise that which in part causes us 
gladness and in part sadness. Now the cause of my joy is the 
promise of the Lord, who says: 'When they say all manner 
of evil against you falsely for my sake, rejoice and exult, 
because your reward is great in heaven.' 1 And again, the 
cause of my grief is the feeling of the Apostle, who writes: 
'Who is weak and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble 
and I am not inflamed?' 2 But even you can say this for 
your doctrine, which you think to be the truth. So, if you 
will, let us put aside these common sentiments, which can 

1 Matt. 5.11,12. 

2 2 Cor. 11. 29. 


be expressed by either side, although they cannot be spoken 
truthfully by both sides. 

(2) First, I ask you why you boast that you have at 
least externally replied to my book when in your four 
books you have not even touched upon a quarter of my 
one book to refute it, and have taken such leaps in sidetrack- 
ing my arguments that you seem not to expect there will 
be any reader of either my work or yours who will discover 
them. Finally, even those few points which comprise, as I 
said, scarcely the fourth part of my book and which you 
evidently considered the weaker and so, with the clatter of 
your four great volumes, sought to overwhelm and crush 
them as if with onrushing chariots are found to remain un- 
shaken by the consideration of the far greater number of 
the others you feared to attack. It is almost superfluous to 
demonstrate this. For we should rather warn those who 
wish to understand that they may not be reluctant to read 
both what I have written and what you wished to reply. 
The matter itself is so clear and evident that those would 
be indeed slow of comprehension who would ask us to demon- 
strate it. 

(3) Now, therefore, since I see you abandoned by the 
truth and turning to abuse, I shall so arrange my argument 
that I may first show how many great doctors of the Catho- 
lic Church you do not hesitate to insult intolerably by the 
name of Manichaeans, attacking them with me, and hurling 
your sacrilegious weapons against them. Then I shall show 
that you yourself so support the damnable and abominably 
impious error of the Manichaeans that they could not hope 
to find such a defender even among their own adherents. 
In the third place, as briefly as I can, I shall refute all your 
subtleties and elaborate arguments, not by my own statements, 
but by those of men who lived before us and defended the 
Catholic Church against the wicked. Finally, since, if you do 


not reform, it will be necessary for you to attack even those 
doctors of the Catholic Church and to contend that not even 
they held the Catholic truth in this matter, I shall, God help- 
ing me, defend their faith and ours against you. And here 
even this shall become clear; namely, that not only you in 
your own words, which I said I would prove in the second 
place, but the doctrine of Pelagianism itself, which is com- 
mon to all of you, greatly supports Manichaeism. 

Chapter 2 

(4) Consider, a little, the first part of my plan and how 
I shall follow it out. In regard to the purpose of my book, to 
which you boast that you have replied in your four, the 
matter for discussion between us is this: that I say that mar- 
riage should be so praised that no blame or censure should 
accrue to it from the fact that all men are born subject to 
the sin of our first parents. He who denies this strives to over- 
turn the very foundations of Christian faith. As a result, 
I wrote a book about marriage and concupiscence, distin- 
guishing, as you see, the good of marriage from that evil 
through which original sin is contracted. But you say that 
marriage is without doubt condemned unless that which is 
born of it is free from all obligation under sin. You thus 
boast that you have refuted my one book by your four. In 
these books, wishing to turn men from established Catholic 
belief and to lead them to the novelty of your error, you 
often insinuate into the minds of the readers the horror pf 
the Manichaean plague, as though he agreed with the 
Manichaeans about a 'natural evil,' who says that infants 
born physically according to Adam contract the contagion of 
the ancient death by their first birth, and for this reason have 
need of the second, so that they may first be purged through 


the lavcr of regeneration by the remission of original sin, and, 
adopted as sons of God, be transferred into the kingdom of 
His only-begotten son. This charge of Manichaeism was also 
brought by Jovinian, 1 who denied that Mary's holy virginity, 
which had existed when she conceived, remained while she 
was giving birth, as if we believed with the Manichaeans 
that Christ was a phantasm when we say that in His birth 
His mother's virginity remained inviolate. 2 But with the aid 
of the Saviour Himself, just as Catholics scorned even the 
most ingenious arguments brought forward by Jovinian and 
believed that holy Mary was not corrupted in giving birth, 
and that the Lord was not a phantasm, but that she remained 
a virgin after giving birth, although the true body of Christ 
came from her so may they scorn your slanderous vain 
talk, not inventing a natural principle of evil, with the 
Manichaeans, and in no way doubting, according to the 
ancient and true Catholic faith, that Christ in blotting out 
the handwriting of the paternal debt is the liberator of infants. 

Chapter 3 

(5) Consider, you who so often accuse us of Manichaeism, 
if you are alert, whom and what kind of men and what great 

1 Jovinian presented the doctrine of salvation by faith without works, 
denied the Virgin Birth, and put marriage on a par with virginity. 

2 Many Manichaeans professed to be Christians, and for this reason 
were regarded as heretics because of their false teaching about specifi- 
cally Christian doctrines. Their unsound teaching about marriage is 
well expressed by Augustine's words: 'I ask why it should displease 
you for a man to put aside his wife, when you do not believe a man 
should take a wife for the faithfulness of matrimony, but for the crime 
of concupiscence. It was indeed named "matrimony" from this: that 
a woman ought to marry for no other reason than that she may 
become a mother, which is hateful to you. You bdieve that in this 
way a part of God which has been conquered and subjugated in 
battle with your race of darkness is also bound in fetters of flesh* 
(Contra Fawtum Manichaeum 19.26). 


defenders of the Catholic faith you dare insult with such a 
detestable charge. Indeed, I do not promise that I will gather 
the opinions of all on this matter, nor all the opinions of 
those whom I shall mention; it would take too long and I 
do not think it necessary. But I shall cite a very few, by 
which, however, our adversaries may be compelled to blush 
and to yield, if they have any fear of God or shame before 
men that can overcome that great evil of their obstinacy. 
Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, lived not long after the time of 
the Apostles. He says: 'Men cannot be saved in any other 
way from the ancient wound of the Serpent except by believ- 
ing in Him who according to the likeness of sinful flesh was 
lifted up from the earth on the tree of testimony and drew 
all things to Himself and gave life to the dead.' 1 Again he 
says : 'Just as the human race was bound to death by a virgin 
it is released through a virgin, the obedience of a virgin evenly 
counterbalancing the disobedience of a virgin. For the sin of 
the first-formed was wiped out by the chastisement of the 
First-born, 2 the wisdom of the Serpent was conquered by the 
simplicity of the dove, and we were released from the chains 
by which we were bound to death.' 3 Do you understand the 
ancient man of God, and what he thinks about the ancient 
wound of the Serpent, and about the likeness of sinful flesh 
through which the wound of the Serpent is healed in the 
sinful flesh, and about the sin of the first-formed by which 
we had been bound? 

(6) The blessed martyr, Bishop Cyprian, speaks much more 

1 Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 4.5. t 

2 The terms, 'the first-formed/ which means Adam, and the First-born, 
who is Christ, are often used by some of the early Fathers, especially 
those whose language was Greek, to emphasize the importance of the 
idea of re-establishing, or bringing under one head, all things in 
Christ (Eph. 1.0, analephalaidsasthai) , in the sense that the human 
race is given a new Head in the Son of God, who was born perfect 
man, for the salvation of man, after the fall of the first man. 

3 Irenaeus, Adversus hacrcses 5.19. 


openly about the same belief. 'If anything,' he says, 'could 
prevent man from attaining grace, it would be rather those 
who are adult and advanced in years, and the aged, who 
might be prevented by serious sins. But if men guilty of very 
serious crimes and those who have previously committed 
many sins against God are granted remission of sins when 
they later come to believe, and no one is forbidden baptism 
and grace, how much more should infants not be forbidden, 
who, just born, have committed no sin except that, having 
been born physically according to Adam, they have contracted 
the contagion of the ancient death by their first birth? They 
come to receive remission of sins all the more easily because 
they are forgiven not their own, but another's, sin. 54 

(7) Reticius of Autun was a bishop of great authority in 
the Church during his episcopacy. This is shown to us by his 
ecclesiastical activities, when in Rome he served as judge 
with others in the court presided over by Melchiades, Bishop 
of the Apostolic See, and condemned Donatus, who had been 
the orginator of the Donatist schism, and absolved Caecil- 
ianus, bishop of the church at Carthage. Reticius, when dis- 
cussing baptism, 5 spoke as follows: 'No one is unaware of the 
fact that this is the chief forgiveness in the Church, in which 
we put away the whole weight of the ancient crime and blot 
out the former evil deeds of our ignorance and also strip off 
the old man with his inborn crimes/ You notice the expres- 
sions, 'the weight of the ancient crime/ 'the former evil 
deeds,' 'the old man with his inborn crimes' and you dare 
set up against these a destructive novelty. 

(8) Olympius, a Spanish bishop, a man of great glory in 
the Church and in Christ, says in one of his ecclesiastical 
sermons: 'If faith had remained ever incorrupt upon earth 
and had followed the tracks which were formed and im- 

4 Cyprian, Epistola 64, ad Fidum. 

5 This work is not extant. 


printed, but from which it departed, it would never have 
scattered by the death-dealing transgression of the first-formed 
the fault in the seed, resulting in this, that sin is born with 
man. 6 Is there anything you think you can say against me, 
which you are not forced to say also against him, or, rather, 
against them? For there is in all the one Catholic faith, and 
they believe with one heart and confess with one mouth that 
through one man sin entered into the world, in whom all 
have sinned, 7 and with their Catholic antiquity they over- 
throw your presumptuous novelties. 8 

(9) Hear, also, what may move you more and trouble you, 
and, would that it might, change you for the better. Who 
does not know that the Gallic bishop Hilary is to be revered 
as the keenest defender of the Catholic Church against the 
heretics? Note what he says when dealing with the flesh of 
Christ. Therefore, when He was sent in the likeness of sinful 
flesh, 9 He did not have the sin though He had the flesh. But, 
since all flesh comes from sin namely, descended from the 
ancestral sin of Adam He was sent in the likeness of sinful 
flesh, not that the sin existed in Him, but the likeness of 
sinful flesh. 5 Again he says in his exposition of Psalm 118, 
when he comes to the words: 'Let my soul live and praise 
thee': 10 'He does not think he lives in this life, for he had 
said: "Behold I have been conceived in iniquities, and in 
sins did my mother bear me." 11 He knows that he was born 
of sinful origin and under the law of sin.' Do you understand 
what you hear? Do you ask what you should say? If you have 
any sense of shame, do you dare accuse on this matter of 

6 This work is not extant. 

7 Cf. Rom. 5.12. ft . _ _ -,, 

8 For a concise summary of this reading of Rom. 5.12, cf F. Prat, The 
Theology of St. Paul (Westminster, Md, 1950) I 213, and 215, footnote, 

9 Rom. 8.3. 

10 Ps. 118.175. 

11 Ps. 50.7. 


original sin a man so gloriously outstanding among Catholic 
bishops and so conspicuous in fame and honor? 

(10) But, again, listen to another excellent steward of God, 
whom I reverence as a father, for in Christ Jesus he begat 
me through the Gospel, 12 and from this servant of Christ I 
received the laver of regeneration. I speak of the blessed 
Ambrose, whose grace, constancy, labors, dangers, whether 
in works or in speech, for the Catholic faith, I myself have 
experienced, and together with me the Roman world does 
not hesitate to proclaim them. When this man was explaining 
the Gospel according to Luke, he said : * "The Jordan turned 
backwards" 513 signified the future mysteries of the laver of 
salvation, through which infants who are baptized at the 
beginning of their natural life are reformed from badness.' 14 
Again, he says in the same work: 'No union with a man 
disclosed the secrets of the virginal womb, but the Holy 
Spirit infused the immaculate seed into the inviolate womb. 
For the Lord Jesus, alone of all born of woman, is holy in 
all things. He who did not experience the contagions of 
earthy corruption in the newness of His immaculate birth, 
and who expelled it by His heavenly majesty.' 15 And again, 
he says in the same work: 'In Adam we all die, because 
through one man sin entered into the world and through sin 
death, and thus it has passed unto all men ; in whom all have 
sinned. His guilt, therefore, is the death of all.' 16 And in 
another passage on the same Gospel : 'Beware, therefore, lest 
you be stripped as Adam was stripped, deprived of the pro- 
tection by the heavenly commandment and putting off the 
garments of faith, and so receiving a mortal wound in which 
he would have slain all the human race, unless that Samaritan 

12 Cf. 1 Cor. 4.15. 
IS Ps. 11SJ. 

14 Ambrose, Expositio evangelii secundum Lucam 1.36. 

15 Ibid. 2.56. 

16 Ibid. 4.67, on Luke 4.58. 


had descended and cured its grievous wounds.' 17 Again, in 
another place of the same work, he says: 'Adam was, and 
in him we all were. Adam perished and in him all perished.' 18 
Again, he says in the book about the Prophet David: 'Before 
we are born we are stained by contagion, and before seeing 
the light we receive the injury of our very origin, we are 
conceived in iniquity. He does not say,' comments Ambrose, 
'whether that of our parents or our own. And in sins his 
mother gives birth to each one. Nor does he state here 
whether the mother gives birth in her own sins or whether 
there are already some sins in the one being born. But, con- 
sider whether both are not to be understood. The conception 
is not without iniquity, since the parents are not without sin, 
and if not even a child of one day is without sin, so much 
more are those days of the maternal conception not without 
sin. Thus, we are conceived in the sin of our parents and are 
born in their iniquities. But birth itself also has its own 
contagions, and the nature itself has not merely one con- 
tagion.' 19 In his exposition of the Book of Tobias, he says: 
'Who is this usurer of sin except the Devil, from whom Eve 
borrowed sin and obligated the whole human race, that is, 
the succeeding posterity which is subject to the interest?' 
Again, in the same work, he says: 'The Devil deceived Eve 
that he might ensnare her husband and put his inheritance 
under obligation.' 20 He also says in his exposition of Psalm 
48: 'Our iniquity is one thing, another that of our heel, in 
which Adam was wounded by the tooth of the serpent and 
left by his wound an obligated inheritance for the human 
succession, so that we are all lamed by that wound.' 21 

17 Ibid. 7.73, on Luke 10. 10. 

18 Ibid. 7.234, on Luke 15.24. 

19 Apologia prophetae David. 11. 

20 Ambrose, De Tobia 9, 23. 

21 Ambrose, Enarrationes in XI psalmos Davidicos, in Ps. 48.6. 


Chapter 4 

(11) Go, now, and make objections about original sin. 
Disagree with them, pretend you do not know what they say, 
and in view of so many great teachers who, after leading a 
most noble life and combating the errors of their times, most 
gloriously departed from this life before you came into being 
as if you did not see them while you are attacking me, and, 
as if you did not know that they are being defamed under 
my name, you insult them with impunity. I confess that I 
would believe you ignorant of the evil you are doing and 
would attribute it to your imprudence rather than your 
impudence that you dare pursue with hostility these shining 
lights of the City of God which you ought to have followed 
with fidelity; I would believe, I say, that you commit this 
great crime in ignorance, if I had not set forth a very clear 
account of the discussion of St. Ambrose 1 in that book which 
you think, or wish to be thought, to have refuted. Or did you 
not read there that, when the above-mentioned bishop spoke 
of the Virgin Birth of Christ, he said: 'Therefore, as a man 
He was tempted in all things and in the likeness of men He 
endured all things, but as born of the Spirit He abstained 
from sin. For every man is a liar 2 and no one is without sin 
except God alone. It remains true, therefore, that from man 
and woman, that is, through that union of bodies, no one may 
be seen to be without sin. But He who is without sin is also 
without this kind of conception.' 3 If you did not there read 
these words of the venerable Ambrose, how could you under- 
take to refute the book in which they are written? But, if 
you read them, why do you rage against me and criticize him 
first of all in me? Why do you strive to rend my name and, 

1 De nuptiis et concupiscentia 1.40. 

2 Ps. 1155. 

3 Ambrose, Expositio Isaiae prophetae. 


without mentioning his name, make of Ambrose a Mani- 

(12) Surely you see with whom I endure your insults, you 
see with whom I make common cause, while without sane con- 
sideration you strive to attack and overthrow thern by calum- 
nies. You see how ruinous it is for you to accuse such men of so 
horrible a crime, and how glorious for me to be accused of 
any crime whatsoever together with such men. If you have 
eyes to see, note it and finally be silent. Silence the Pelagian 
tongue with so many Catholic tongues, shut your impudent 
mouth before so many venerable mouths. If, like Polemo, 4 
you had entered the school of Xenocrates inebriated from 
late carousing, should you not be checked by reverence for 
so many holy men as he was by that assembly? Surely the 
reverence here ought to be so much greater as a greater wis- 
dom is learned here. The countenances of so many venerable 
bishops are so much more to be revered than that of Xeno- 
crates alone as Christ their teacher is greater than Plato the 
teacher of Xenocrates. Indeed, I do not forget Memor, your 
father of blessed memory, who was joined with me in no 
slight friendship through literary pursuits, and caused you to 
be very dear to me, and when I saw you in your books, not 
drunk with late carousing, but disturbed with mad wrang- 
ling, I brought you to be calmed and healed not into the 
hall of a philosopher, but into the peaceful and honorable 
assembly of holy fathers. Let it be worth while, I pray you. 
Look at them, as it were, regarding you and gently and 
kindly saying to you: Are we, then, Manichaeans, son 
Julian? I ask you, what will you answer? With what eyes will 
you look at them? What arguments will come to your mind? 
What Categories of Aristotle, with which you wish to appear 

4 An Athenian philosopher who was later head of the school of Plato. 
When he was about thirty, still a dissolute young man, he burst into 
the school during a discourse on temperance and, as here related, was 
converted to the study of philosophy. 


adept that you may spring upon us as an ingenious disputer? 
What glassy edge or leaden dagger of your arguments will 
you dare draw forth in their sight? What arms will not 
desert you and leave you unprotected? Or will you, perhaps, 
say you did not name any of them in this charge? And what 
will you do when they say to you: It would be more endur- 
able if you tore our names to pieces with your evil tongue 
rather than our faith, by whose merit our names are written 
in heaven? Or perhaps you will say to them: I have not 
violated your faith by any such charge. But with what confi- 
dence will you dare say this, you who say it is a Manichaean 
notion to confess that all who are born contract from Adam 
the sin by way of origin, which they confessed and professed, 
which they learned in the Church of Christ at the time of 
their beginnings, which they taught the Church of Christ in 
the time of their honor, they who through the Holy Spirit 
gave remission of so many sins to all whom they could 
baptize, and gave to so many infants remission of original 
sin only? Again I admonish you, again I ask, look at the great 
number of defenders and doctors of the Catholic Church; 
see on whom you inflict so serious and so wicked an injury. 
(13) Or do you think that they are to be despised because 
they all belong to the Western Church and I have not 
mentioned any Eastern bishops among them? What, then, 
shall we do, since they are Greek and we Latin? I think that 
that part of the world should suffice for you in which the 
Lord wished to crown with glorious martyrdom the first of 
His Apostles. If you had been willing to listen to the head of 
that Church, blessed Innocent, you would already have with- 
drawn your perilous youth from the Pelagian snares. For, 
what could that holy man answer the African councils except 
what the Apostolic See and the Roman Church together 
with the others have steadfastly held from of old? Yet you 
accuse his successor (Zosimus) of prevarication because he 


was unwilling to oppose the apostolic doctrine and the 
judgment of his predecessor. 5 But I say nothing of this at 
present, lest by the praises of him who condemned you I 
should exasperate your mind, which I wish to cure rather 
than irritate. Consider what you will reply to St. Innocent, 
who knows nothing else of this matter except the opinion of 
those into whose company I introduced you, if that is of any 
avail. He, too, is on their side; though later in time, yet 
higher in place. In regard to freeing wretched infants by the 
grace of Christ from the orginal evil which is contracted 
from Adam, he holds with them the true and Christian 
doctrine. He said that Christ by the laver of His baptism 
purged away all the former fault, that is, of the first man, who 
by free will plunged into the depths, 6 and finally defined 
that infants, 7 unless they eat the flesh of the Son of Man, 
can by no means have life. 8 Answer him, or rather, the Lord 
Himself, who used that bishop as witness, and tell why the 
image of God is punished with this capital punishment, that it 
is deprived of life, if original sin is not contracted by those 
who are born. But what will you say or what will you reply, 
for, even if you dare it in the case of blessed Innocent, you 
will not dare call Christ a Manichaean. 

(14) Thus, there is no reason why you should appeal to 
the Eastern bishops, because they themselves are also Chris- 
tians and in both parts of the world this faith is one faith, 
for this faith is Christian; and certainly the Western land 
brought you forth and the Western Church regenerated you. 
What do you wish to bring to it which you did not find in it 
when you came among its members? Or, rather, what do 
you seek to take away from it, which you yourself also 

5 Cf. the Introduction, on the treatment of Pelagius by Innocent and 

6 Epist. 181.7, inter Augustinianas. 

7 Epist. 182.5, inter Augustinianas. 

8 Cf. John 6.54. 


received in it? For the original sin which you deny, to the 
destruction of other infants, at whatever age you were bap- 
tized was itself remitted for you, or, at any rate, was also re- 
mitted. But if it is true, as we have heard, that you were bap- 
tized as an infant, then even you, although innocent of per- 
sonal sins, yet, because you were born physically of Adam, con- 
tracted the contagion of the ancient death by your first birth, 
and you were conceived in iniquity and then exorcised and 
exsufflated 9 so that, rescued from the power of darkness, you 
might be transferred into the kingdom of Christ. O my son, ill 
born of Adam but well reborn in Christ, you attempt to take 
from your mother the sacraments by which she bore you. Was 
she Manichaean when she bore you in this way in which you 
no longer wish her to bear; and do you reproach her manner of 
bearing, so that you close for others her bowels of mercy 
from which you yourself were born? You divide for her the 
name of her husband, so that for the regeneration of infants 
He is only Christ, for adults Christ Jesus, because, as you 
know, Jesus means Saviour, 10 and this is what you do not 
wish Him to be for infants, since you teach that they have 
nothing from which He may save them. 

Chapter 5 

(15) But you shall not lack a famous bishop of great 
reputation and highest renown from the East, a man whose 
statements, deservedly very popular, were translated into 
Latin and have become famous everywhere. Let St. Gregory, 

9 This concise technical term naming the act of breathing upon the 
baptized, to signify the expulsion of the Devil, is used throughout 
this translation. 

10 This use of the meaning of the name is warranted by Matt. 1.21; cf. 
remarks on this text in Commentary on the New Testament (Paterson, 
NJ. 1943). 


then, also sit with these Fathers and bear with them the 
odium of your senseless accusation, while he, too, brings a 
remedial argument against your baneful novelty. Hear, then, 
what he says: The image of God will purge away the stain 
of this bodily flood and will lift up with the wings of the 
word of God the flesh joined to it. And although it would 
have been better not to need this kind of purging, but to have 
remained in that first dignity to which we hasten once more 
after our present purification, and it would have been better 
not to fall from the tree of life by the very bitter taste of sin, 
nevertheless, as the second course, it is better to be cured and 
corrected after the fall than to remain in sins. 5 And again he 
says : ' As we all died in Adam, so in Christ we are all brought 
to life. Let us, then, be born with Christ and crucified with 
Christ and buried with Him in death so that with Him we 
may also rise to life. It is necessary that we endure this useful 
and necessary change, so that, just as we fell from happiness 
into wretchedness, so we are restored from wretchedness to 
better things. For, where sin abounded, grace abounded yet 
more, so that those whom the taste of the forbidden tree con- 
demned may be justified through more abundant grace by 
the cross of Christ.' Again, he says: 'Revere the birth through 
which you are set free from the bonds of earthy birth. Honor 
Bethlehem, weak and small, through which the return to 
paradise has been opened for you.' 1 Likewise, he says else- 
where, speaking of baptism : 'Let the word of Christ persuade 
you of this, also, as He says that no one can enter into the 
kingdom of heaven unless he is "born again of water and the 
Spirit." 2 Through Him the stains of the first birth are cleansed 
away, through which we are conceived in iniquity and in 
sins have our mothers brought us forth.' Are you going to say 
that he, too, savors of Manichaeism or spreads poison? You 

1 Gregory Nazianzen, Oratio in natalem Christi. 

2 John 3.5. 


hear how all with one heart, one mouth, one faith, say the 
same thing, and that this is the Catholic faith, established 
without a dissenting witness. 

(16) Or does it seem to you that there is too little authority 
in Gregory alone of all the Eastern bishops? He is a personage 
of such importance that he could not say this unless it were 
well known to all from the Christian faith, and they would 
not consider him so brilliant and venerable unless they 
recognized these statements of his to be in accordance with 
the rule of the well-known truth. But, if you wish, we shall 
add to him St. Basil as well; indeed, whether you wish or 
not, he must be added, especially since in the fourth volume of 
your work you decided to say something about a passage 
from his book against the Manichaeans which is not in any 
way relevant to the matter of original sin entering into the 
world by one man and passing on through all men. He is 
dealing there with the truth that evil is not to be considered 
as a substance having its own matter, as the Manichaeans 
hold. Thus he says: 'It is not a substance, but a mode of 
behavior coming from the will alone' not to those who have 
contracted the contagion of the ancient death by their first 
birth 'to those who through their own will have adopted an 
unhealthy way of living' ; that is, those already grown up and 
having the use of reason and free will : 'This mode of behavior, 
accidental as it is,' he says, 'can very easily be separated from 
the will of those who are thus afflicted.' He adds: 'If this evil 
had come about so that it was no longer possible to be re- 
moved from the will, that is, though it had been added as 
an accident, if it had been so added that it was no longer 
possible to be separated from the will, it could properly be 
said that indeed there is no substantial evil, but that the 
substance itself could not now exist without the evil inhering 
in it as an accident. But if it is added as an accident, 5 he 
says, 'and the source of this addition is not the substance, but 


the will, the evil can easily be separated from the substance, 
so that even the substance subject to the will can be possessed 
clean through all, so that not even the signs of any evil 
remain. 3 This was so rightly said by St. Basil that it can well 
be understood even of that evil which through Adam entered 
into the world and passed to all men, for this, too, was added 
accidentally to human nature. For it was not thus created at 
first, and the source of this addition is not a substance, but a 
will, whether of the woman who was seduced by the Serpent 
or of her husband who consented to his wife who had been 
tempted to sin. But what he says: 'that the evil can easily be 
separated from the will or from the substance' it is not easy 
for the human will, but for the mercy of God. And this is 
quite sufficient against the Manichaeans, who think it is 
impossible for what they call the nature of evil to be changed 
to good. Therefore, St. Basil does not say that the will of man, 
or his substance or nature, can easily separate the evil from 
itself, but 'it can easily be separated from it/ so weighing his 
words that he might confute the Manichaeans against whom 
he was arguing, and might not lift up human pride against 
divine grace. Indeed, that almighty One, for whom according 
to the Gospel that is easy which is impossible for men, 3 will 
so destroy by the abundance of His grace the evil which befalls 
us, either from the first man or from our own will thereafter, 
'that the substance even subject to the will,' as you quoted 
Basil as saying, 'can be possessed clean through all, so that not 
even the signs of any evil remain.' So may it be; this is the 
undoubted hope of the faithful. But when it is accomplished it 
is a matter of the Catholic faith. For then it shall be said to the 
last enemy, Death: 'Where is thy victory? Where is they 
sting?' 4 

(17) Thus, in regard to what you recall that Basil said: 'If 

3 Matt. 19.26. 

4 1 Cor. 15.55. 


chastity is a virtue and the body were really substantially 
evil, it would be impossible to find a chaste body, for the body 
of shamefulness could not become the body of virtue. But 
when it is sanctified, it becomes the body of virtue and virtue 
shares with the body and the body with virtue, through 
which it also becomes the temple of God. Hence, if every 
body were the body of fornication, it would be impossible to 
find chastity in bodies, and then, indeed, we could attribute 
substantial evil to the nature of bodies. But, if the merits of 
the body have advanced so far and it has been adorned with 
so much honor and has received such a garment of modesty 
that it deserves to be the house of its Creator and becomes the 
bridal chamber of the Son of God, so that the Father and 
the Son come and deign to choose the body for their habita- 
tion, how could the Manichaean argument not prove detest- 
able and ridiculous?' What could be said that is truer and 
more in accord with the Catholic rule? For it is spoken 
against the Manichaeans, who hold and affirm that bodies 
have their origin from a 'race of darkness,' which they 
describe as an evil nature co-eternal with the good God, hold- 
ing also that bodies themselves are unchangeable evils. He 
was speaking against these men, I say, and not against those 
who hold the true and truly Christian faith ; that now, indeed, 
the body is corruptible and presses down the soul, 5 but not 
that it was first created so when placed in paradise, and not 
that it will always be so, but will be changed to incorruption 
and immortality, and that even now it is beginning to be a 
temple of God, adorned with the modesty of a wife or widow 
or even of a virgin; since, though the flesh lusts against the 
spirit, the spirit also lusts against the flesh, so that it does not 
yield the members of the body to sin as weapons of iniquity. 6 
(18) But hear what is truly relevant to the present subject; 

5 Wisd. 9.15. 

6 Gal. 5.17; Rom. 6.15. 


what St. Basil says without any ambiguity about that sin of 
the first man which also pertains to us. Although I found it 
in translation, I prefer for the sake of greater fidelity to truth 
to translate it word for word from the Greek. In a sermon on 
fasting, 7 he says: Tasting was established in paradise by law. 
For Adam received the first commandment: "From the tree 
of the knowledge of good and evil you must not eat." 8 But, 
"you must not eat" means fasting, and the beginning of the 
Law. If Eve had fasted from the tree, we should not need 
this fast. For it is not the healthy who need a physician, but 
they who are sick. 9 We have fallen ill through sin; we are 
healed by penance. But penance without fasting is vain. The 
accursed earth shall bring forth thorns and thistles for thee. 
Are you not ordained for sorrow and not for delights?' And a 
little later in the same sermon he says: 'Because we did not 
fast we fell from paradise. Let us fast, therefore, that we may 
return to it.' If you had read these and other similar words 
of St. Basil, or if you had wished to consider them faithfully 
after reading them, you would not have written in your book, 
with what purpose I know not, statements from his writings 
to becloud the minds of the ignorant, statements entirely 
irrelevant to the question with which we are dealing. You 
hear that we should not need this fast if man had not trans- 
gressed the law of fasting in the happiness of paradise, and 
you deny that other men are born subject to the sin of those 
men. You hear what he adds: Tor it is not the healthy who 
need a physician,' and you deny that we have lost by the 
sin of those men the health in which we were created. You 
hear that the sentence pronounced against the first man when 
he sinned : 'The earth shall bring forth thorns and thistles for 
thee,' applies to us also, and you deny that they are subject 

7 Basil, Sermo 1. 

8 Gen. 2.17. 

9 Matt. 9.12. 


to the sin whom you perceive to be subject to the same sen- 
tence. You hear that we must return to the paradise from 
which we fell and you deny that the sin of those who then 
were the only men dwelling in paradise, in whom we also 
were, pertains to us? 

(19) Why say more of this? See whether these voices from 
the Eastern Church are enough for you; men so outstanding 
and endowed with such great sanctity, and, as the report is, 
even brothers in the flesh. 10 But suppose you say they are not 
enough. We have fourteen other Eastern bishops Eulogius, 
John, Ammonianus, Porphyry, Eutonius, Porphyry, Fidus, 
Zoninus, Zoboennus, Nymphidius, Chromatius, Jovinus, 
Eleutherius, Clematius whom we have found together in 
one place and can introduce into this assembly, the very 
ones who sat as judges over Pelagius, and as men who thought 
him a Catholic, with no adversary pressing on from the other 
side, pronounced him a Catholic. But if he had not in their 
sight and hearing condemned those who say that the sin of 
Adam harmed him alone and not the human race; and that 
new-born infants are in that state in which Adam was before 
he sinned; and that infants even if they are not baptized have 
eternal life then he would by no means have gone from 
there uncondemned. For what does it profit you that you 
apply I know not what handles and hooks by the tricks of I 
know not what complexity in order that simple things may 
not be plain and clear truths may not shine forth? Who does 
not see how those judges could accept these things, namely, 
according to the Catholic faith, which everywhere by exorcis- 
ing and exsufflating infants rescues them from the power of 
darkness and not as these things are explained or, rather, 
invented by you? Yet you could say: 'The sin of Adam 

10 Augustine's information is incorrect; Basil's brother was Gregory of 
Nyssa, not Gregory of Nazianzen, from whose writing these quota- 
tions are taken. 


harmed the human race not through propagation but through 
imitation, and new-born infants are not in that state in 
which Adam was before he sinned because he was able to 
receive a commandment and these are not yet so. J With these 
foggy statements Pelagius thinks he has set at naught that 
judgment, and you nod agreement with all your might to 
this crime, and laugh that he has made sport of so many 
bishops. But could you by any cleverness twist into something 
else or cover with any fig leaves the statement that 'infants 
even if they are not baptized have eternal life'? Pelagius 
could do nothing but condemn before Catholic judges those 
who say this, and what he thought, he condemned before 
men, fearing to be condemned by men. For, if you do not 
think this, then you entirely agree with us. But, because you 
do not agree with us, you unquestionably think this. And 
herein Eastern judges condemn you. Pelagius, fearing to be 
condemned by them, condemned those who think this, and 
he is certainly to be condemned with those whom he con- 
demned, because he held in his heart what he denied with 
his mouth. For what is anathematized in his words is found 
in his writings. But I am not now dealing with him. What 
do you say, you with whom I am now concerned? See, here 
are a number of Eastern judges; we read the records of the 
Church which have been preserved about them. We read 
that it was charged against Pelagius that 'He says infants 
even if not baptized have eternal life.' We read that Pelagius 
condemned those who say this, for otherwise he could not 
have escaped those judges. Now, what do you yourself say? 
Will infants have eternal life even if they depart from this 
life without being baptized, or will they not? If you say they 
will, then the words of your Pelagius will condemn you, and 
all those by whom he feared to be condemned. But if you say 
they will not, I ask for what reason the innocent image of 
God will be punished by being deprived of life if no sin is 
contracted by human propagation. But, if it is actually con- 


tracted, why are those called Manichaeans who think this, 
by whom Pelagius would have been condemned if he had 
not pretended to think this? 

(20) Meanwhile, you have before your eyes bishops not 
only of the West but also of the East. For we have found 
many of the East, whom we seemed to lack. They all believe 
in one and the same way, that by one man sin entered into 
the world and through sin death, and thus it has passed unto 
all men; in whom all have sinned, and the way is this, that 
all are believed to be born subject to the sin of that one first 
man. If you call him who says this a Manichaean, look at 
these, blush before them, spare them, or rather yourself, lest 
He who rules them and dwells in them may, perchance, not 
spare you. But, if you do not call them Manichaeans, you 
can find no reason to call me so. For you call me this for no 
other reason than that I believe what they believe, I hold 
what they hold, I teach what they teach, I preach what they 
preach about the sin of the first man, to which all men are 
subject by their carnal birth and from which none is released 
except by spiritual birth. Yield to them and you will not 
strike me; agree with them and you will leave me alone. 
Finally, if you do not wish to be my friend through them, I 
ask only that you not become their enemy through me. But 
how will you not become that if you remain in this your 
error? How much better to abandon this in order that you 
may join them. Have Pelagius and Celestius such power 
over you that you dare not only to desert, but even to call 
Manichaeans, so many great doctors and defenders of the 
Catholic faith, ancient and contemporary, from the rising of 
the sun to its setting, some fallen asleep and others still with 
us? I wonder how this can ever come from your mouth 
which the perverseness of your error yet compels you to 
proclaim. It is strange indeed that in the face of a man there 
is so great a distance between his brow and his tongue that 
in this case the brow does not subdue the tongue. 


Chapter 6 

(21) But I know what you are muttering. Speak now, 
speak and let us hear it. At the end of your work with which 
we are now dealing, that is, in the last part of Book 4, you 
say: l St. John of Constantinople says there is no original sin 
in infants. In a homily which he delivered about the baptized, 
he says: "Blessed be God, who alone hath done wondrous 
things, who hath made all things and changed all things. 
Behold, they enjoy the serenity of freedom who a little while 
ago were held captive, and they are citizens of the Church 
who were strangers and wanderers, and they are in the state 
of justice who were in the confusion of sin. For they are not 
only free but also holy, not only holy but also just, not only 
just but also sons, not only sons but also heirs, not only heirs 
but also brothers of Christ, not only brothers of Christ but 
also co-heirs, not only co-heirs but also members, not only 
members but also a temple, not only a temple but also instru- 
ments of the Spirit. You see how many are the benefits of 
baptism; some think the heavenly grace consists only in the 
remission of sins, but we have enumerated ten honors. For 
this reason we baptize even infants, though they are not 
defiled with sin, in order that there may be given to them 
holiness, justice, adoption, inheritance, and the brotherhood 
of Christ, that they may be His members." J1 

(22) Do you, then, dare to set these words of the holy 
bishop John in opposition to so many statements of his great 
colleagues, and separate him from their most harmonious 
society, and constitute him their adversary? Far be it, far 
be it from us to believe or say such an evil thing of so great 
a man. Far be it from us, I say, to think that John of Con- 
stantinople, on the question of the baptism of infants and 
their liberation by Christ from the paternal handwriting, 

1 John Chrysostom, Homilia ad neophytos. 


should oppose so many great fellow bishops, especially the 
Roman Innocent, the Carthaginian Cyprian, the Cappado- 
cian Basil, the Nazianzene Gregory, the Gaul Hilary, the 
Milanese Ambrose. There are other matters on which at 
times even the most learned and excellent defenders of the 
Catholic rule do not agree, without breaking the bond of the 
faith, and one speaks better and more truly about one thing 
and another about another. But this matter about which we 
are now speaking pertains to the very foundations of the 
faith. He who would overthrow in the Christian faith what 
is written : 'Since by a man came death, by a man also comes 
resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ 
all will be made to live,' 2 strives to take away all that we 
believe in Christ. Christ is fully the Saviour of infants as well. 
They shall certainly perish unless redeemed by Him, for 
without His flesh and blood they cannot have life. This John, 
too, thought and believed and learned and taught. But you 
twist his words according to your doctrine. He said that 
infants do not have sins he meant sins of their own. This is 
why we rightly call them innocents, according to what the 
Apostle says, that those not yet born had not done aught of 
good or evil; not according to what he says: 'By the dis- 
obedience of the one man the many were constituted sinners.' 3 
Even our Cyprian could say the same thing about infants as 
John, when he wrote: 'The new-born infant has not com- 
mitted any sin, and he is forgiven not his own sins, but those 
of another.' 4 Therefore, John, comparing them to adults 
whose personal sins are forgiven in baptism, said they do not 
have sins not as you quote him: 'are not defiled with sin/ 
where you want it understood to mean they are not defiled 
by the sin of the first man. But I should not attribute this to 

2 I Cor. 15.21,22. 

3 Cf. Rom. 9.11; 5.16. 

4 Cyprian, Epistola, 64, ad Fidum. 


you but to the translator, although in some manuscripts 
which have the same translation we read not 'sin' but 'sins.' 
Therefore, I wonder if one of your party did not prefer 
to write the singular number so that that one sin might be 
understood of which the Apostle says: Tor the judgment was 
from the one unto condemnation, but grace is from many 
offenses unto justification.' 5 There he wishes us to understand 
the 'one' to mean nothing else but the offense; not wishing 
men to believe that infants are defiled by it, you preferred to 
say: 'not defiled by sin,' so that the one sin of the first man 
might come into our mind, not that they do not have sins, as 
John says, lest we understand their personal sins, or read 
'They are not defiled with sins,' as the same passage reads 
in other manuscripts. But let us not deal with suspicions, and 
here we may suppose an error of the copyist or a variation 
in the translation. I shall quote the Greek words themselves 
as John wrote them: ( Dia touto kai ta paedia baptizomen, 
kaitoi hamartemata ouk echonta,' which is, in [the English 
translation of the] Latin, 6 Therefore, we also baptize infants, 
though not having sins.' You certainly see that he did not 
say : 'Infants are not defiled with sin' or 'sins,' but 'not having 
sins,' meaning sins of their own ; there is no difficulty. But you 
will say: Why did he himself not add 'their own'? Why, I 
think, except that he was speaking in the Catholic Church and 
did not believe that he would be understood in any other way, 
since no one had raised such a question, and he spoke more 
carelessly since you were not yet disputing. 

(23) Do you wish to hear what he, too, said quite openly 
about this matter? Listen, I add him also to that number of 
saints. Listen, I set him among my witnesses, or among your 
judges, whom you considered your patron. Listen, you would 
even call him a Manichaean. Come in, St. John, come in, and 

5 Cf. Rom. 5.19. 

6 Ideo et infantes baptizamus, quamvis peccata non habentcs. 


sit down with your brothers, from whom no argument and 
no temptation have separated you. We need your opinion, 
also, and yours especially, since in your writings this young 
man thinks he has found the means to overthrow and make 
void the opinions of so many of your great fellow bishops. 
But, if he had really found something of the sort, and it 
became clear that you think what he thinks, we could 
never prefer you alone pardon me for saying so to so many 
men of such great importance in this case, about which 
Christian belief and the Catholic Church have never varied. 
But far be it from you to have another opinion and thus stand 
out as peculiar in this. Say something by which this young 
man may be confounded and abashed when he seeks to stain 
my reputation, and pardon me when, after I have explained 
to him what you think in this matter, he will also seek to 
stain yours. For he says it is a Manichaean notion to believe 
that infants need the help of Christ as liberator, that they 
may be freed from damnation, to which they are subject from 
the sin of the first man. And when he learns that you, too, 
think so, he will through this repent of his Pelagian error or 
will accuse you of Manichaeism. But, in order to confer a 
true benefit on him, let us not care about his false reproach. 

( 24 ) Now hear, Julian, what John says in agreement with 
the other Catholic doctors. Writing to Olympia, he says: 
'When Adam sinned that great sin, and condemned all the 
human race in common, he paid the penalties in grief/ Again, 
on the raising of Lazarus, he says: 'Christ wept because 
mortality had transgressed to the point that, cast out from 
eternity, it loved the world of the dead. Christ wept because 
the Devil made mortal those who could have been immortal.' 7 
What could be said more clearly? What will you answer to 
this? If Adam by his great sin condemned all the human 
race in common, can an infant be born otherwise than 

7 John Chrysostom, Homilia de Lazaro resuscitate. 


condemned? And through whom except Christ is he freed 
from this condemnation? And if even in Lazarus he says 
that mortality, cast out from eternity, loved the world of the 
dead, who of mortals is not touched by this fault and mis- 
chance by which the first man fell from everlasting life, which 
he would have received if he had not sinned? If the Devil 
made mortal all who could have been immortal, why do 
even infants die if they are not subject to the sin of that first 
man? And can even infants be saved from the power of 
death except through Him in whom all shall be made to live? 
(25) This same John treats in one of his sermons the 
question why beasts harm men or kill them, although the 
saying of the Lord is clear by which He subjects beasts to men 
that he may have power over them. 8 He solves this question 
by saying that, before sin entered [the world], all beasts were 
subject to man, and the fact that now they harm men is 
punishment of the first sin. The treatise is long therefore, 
I shall not include it in this work but it is fitting to set forth 
a part of it. He says: 'We fear and dread beasts; I do not 
deny it. And we have fallen from our lordship; this, too, I 
admit. But this does not show that the law of God is false, 
for in the beginning things were not so arranged, but they 
feared and trembled and were subject to their master. And 
since we fell from our trust, so we also fell from our honor. 
What is the proof for this? God brought the beasts to Adam 
to see what he would call them, and Adam did not recoil as 
if in fear.' And a little later: 'This is one sign,' he says, 'that 
in the beginning the beasts were not terrifying to man ; a sec- 
ond is even clearer than this: namely, the conversation of the 
woman and the Serpent. For, if beasts had been terrifying 
to men, the woman surely would not have stayed when she 
saw the Serpent; she would not have taken its advice and 
would not have talked with it so trustfully, but would im- 

8 Cf. Gen. 1.28. 


mediately have been terrified and have fled at the very sight 
of it. Now she converses and is not afraid, for that fear did not 
as yet exist. But since sin entered, the properties of honor 
were taken away.' Again, a little later: 'Indeed, as long as 
he trusted in God he was terrifying to the beasts, but because 
he transgressed he now fears even the lowest of his fellow 
servants. If this is not so,' he says, 'then show me that, before 
man sinned, beasts were terrifying to him. You cannot do so. 
But if, after all this, fear entered, this, too, is under God's 
care. For if, after the commandment which had been given 
was removed and broken by man, the honor which had been 
given to him by God had remained unmoved, he would not 
easily have risen again.' 9 Surely it is clear that St. John has 
shown in this discussion that that sin which entered through 
one man became common to all, since the fear of beasts is 
common to all, and beasts by no means spare even infants, 
whom certainly, according to this treatise of St. John, they 
should in no way harm or frighten unless infants were held by 
the bonds of that ancient sin. 

(26) Now, Julian, call him also a Manichaean (why do 
you hesitate to do so?) since he wrongs this very excellent 
nature whose innocence you defend, and asserts the propaga- 
tion of condemnation. 10 Nay, rather, restrain yourself and 
make amends if there is anything of sound reason in you, and 
at last understand how John could say that infants do not have 
sins; not that they are not bound by the sin of the first parents, 
but that they have not committed any personal sins. And in 
this same homily, if you have read the whole of it, I do not 

9 John Chrysostom, Homilia 9, in Genesim. 

10 Here, as elsewhere, the phrases propago mortis, propago condemna- 
tions, and others of the same kind, have been translated literally to 
retain the allusion to one of the Pelagian phrases against the doctrine 
about original sin a reference to their argument that sin cannot be 
transmitted by way of natural propagation, but must be voluntary 
by the will of the one to whom it is imputed. 


know how it could have escaped you, or, if it could not have 
escaped you, I wonder why you have not made amends if the 
authority of John is of any importance with you. But if you 
read the whole sermon, and are familiar with the passage 
which I have mentioned, and yet thought that you should hold 
to your opinion, then why did you quote him in your work? 
Or was it that you might induce us to read the whole and to 
find the means of discovering and refuting your deception? 
For what is clearer than what he said there: 'Christ came 
once and found us bound by the paternal handwriting which 
Adam wrote. He showed the beginning of the debt; through 
our sins the interest increased'? 11 Do you hear this man, 
learned in the Catholic faith and teaching, distinguishing the 
debt of the paternal handwriting which has clung to us as 
our inheritance, from those debts whose interest increased 
though our sins? Do you hear from what infants are released 
in baptism, who have not as yet contracted debts of their 
own and yet could not have been immune from the paternal 
handwriting? His words, not translated, are as follows, in 
Greek: 'Erchetai hapax ho Christos, heuren hemon cheiro- 
graphon patroon, ho ti egraphen ho Adam. Ekeinos ten 
archen eisegagen ton chreious, hemeis ton daneismon 
heuxesamen tais metagenesterais hamartiais.' Translated word 
for word, this reads as follows: 'Christ came once; He found 
our -paternal handwriting, which Adam wrote. He caused 
the beginning of the debt; we increased the interest by our 
later sins.' 12 Was he content to say 'the paternal handwriting' 
without adding 'our,' so that we might know that before we 
increased the interest by our later sins, the debt of that 
paternal handwriting already pertained to us? 

11 John Chrysostom, Homilia ad neophytos. 

12 The Latin reads: Venit semel Christus, invenit nostrum chirographum 
paternum, quod scripsit Adam, llle initium induxit debiti, nos fenus 
auximus posterioribus peccatis. 


(27) Read, also, how this same holy man explains this 
same passage of the Apostle, where it is written: 'Through 
one man sin entered into the world.' For there the truth of 
his Catholic faith is clearer than light. Since it would be too 
long to quote the whole of it in this work, I shall mention only 
a few points. 'It is clear,' he says, 'that it is not the sin which 
comes from transgression of the law, but that sin which comes 
from the disobedience of Adam, which has defiled all.' And a 
little later he says: ' "Death reigned from Adam to Moses 
even over those who had not sinned." How did it reign? "After 
the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of 
him who was to come." 13 For this reason Adam is also a figure 
of Christ. How is he a figure? they ask. Because, just as Adam 
became the cause of death to those who were born of him, 
even though they did not eat of the tree that death which 
was brought about through the food so Christ, for those who 
are of Him, even though they have done nothing just, became 
the purveyor of justice which He bestowed on us all through 
the Cross.' In another part of the same sermon he says: 'So 
that when a Jew says to you: "How was the world saved by 
the virtue 14 of one man, Christ?" you can say to him: "Just 
as the world was condemned by the disobedience of the one 
man, Adam" although grace and sin are not equal, nor 
are death and life on a par, nor are God and the Devil equal.' 
And again, a little later : 'But not like the offense,' he says, 'so 
also is he gift. For, if by the offense of the one many died, 
much more has the grace of God and the gift in grace of the 
one man, Jesus Christ, abounded unto the many.' What he 
means is this. If sin had power, and the sin of one man, then 

13 Cf. Rom. 5.14. 

14 Augustine uses the term virtus in the larger sense which it has in 
Latin, namely, general excellence and power, by which it may mean 
both virtue and strength. It is useful to recall this in passages about 
strength made perfect in weakness, relying on one's own virtue, and 
the like. 


grace and the grace of God, and not only of the Father but 
also of the Son, should certainly have more power. This is 
much more reasonable, for that one should be condemned for 
another certainly does not seem to make much sense, but that 
one should be saved for another seems much more fitting and 
reasonable. But, if the former happened, then much more the 
latter. And again, elsewhere in what follows: "The judg- 
ment," he says, "was from one man unto condemnation, but 
grace is from many offenses unto justification." This is the 
same,' he says, 'as to say that sin could bring about death 
and damnation, but grace destroyed not only that one sin, 
but also the sins that came in afterwards/ And a little later, 
on the same matter, he says: 'Therefore, he shows that many 
goods were brought in, and not only that that sin was 
destroyed, but also all the rest, saying: "But grace is from 
many offenses unto justification." ' And after a little, he says: 
'At first he said that, if the sin of one destroyed all, then much 
more the grace of one could save. And after this he shows 
that not only this sin was destroyed by grace, but also all the 
rest, and not only were the sins destroyed, but justice was 
bestowed, also. And Christ did not benefit us merely as much 
as Adam harmed us, but much more, and more abundantly.' 
After this, in the same work, when he was discussing baptism, 
he quoted the words of the Apostle, who said : " 'Do you not 
kno>v, brethren, that all we who have been baptized into 
Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? For we were 
buried with him by means of baptism into death." What 
does this mean: "We were baptized into his death"? That we, 
too, shall die as He died, for baptism is a cross. Thus, what 
the cross and the tomb were to Christ, baptism has become 
for us. But not in the same way, for He died and was buried 
in the flesh, but we both died and were buried in sin. 
Therefore, he does not say "united with him in death," 
but "in the likeness of death." For both are a death, but 


not in the same thing. The one is the death of the flesh of 
Christ, but ours is of sin. Therefore, just as the former is 
true, so the latter is also true.' 

(28) Can you any longer doubt that St. John is as far 
from your teaching as he is close to Catholic teaching? Is 
there in his argument, in which he explains the passage of the 
Apostle which is most necessary for the matter we are discus- 
sing, the words: Through one man sin entered into the 
world,' and the whole context, any trace of what you say, 
that this refers to imitation and not to physical birth? Does he 
not say that by that one sin all things were defiled, and so 
distinguish it from the others committed and introduced later, 
which you say pertain to imitation and not to propagation, 
that he says that not only those but this and those also were 
destroyed through the grace of Christ? Does he not so explain 
the words of the Apostle: 'All we who have been baptized 
into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death,' in such 
a way that he says that he who is baptized into Christ so dies 
to sin as Christ died to the flesh, because to be baptized into 
the death of Christ is nothing else than to die to sin? To what 
sin, then, does the infant die, if it has not contracted original 
sin? Or are infants, perhaps, not baptized into the death of 
Christ, although the Apostle does not say 'certain ones,' but 
'all we who have been baptized into Christ have been 
baptized into his death'? Or, when they are baptized with 
Christian baptism, are you going to say that they are not 
baptized into Christ, lest Bishop John silence you by his 
definition, when he says that, for those who are baptized into 
Christ, baptism is what the cross and the tomb were for Christ, 
so that we may understand them to have died to sin just as 
He died in the flesh? Consider how great in the Christian 
faith and defense of this Catholic teaching is the man to whom 
you wished to attribute your teaching, as if he had said that 


infants are not defiled with the sin of the first man, when he 
said : 'They do not have sins.' That he meant only sins of their 
own is plainly proved by considerable evidence. 

Chapter 7 

( 29 ) What good has it done you to quote the testimony of 
John of Constantinople as though he agreed with you? Is it 
that you may with keen cunning seize upon one word of his, 
spoken, as it were, in passing, and bring upon yourself such 
a great heap of his words by which you may be overwhelmed? 
While you were so imprudent and careless that you did not 
notice that in the very homily in which you could find 
scarcely one piece of evidence which deceived you because 
you did not understand it rightly and by which you deceived 
others, St. John of Constantinople very clearly stated that all 
men, aside from their own debts, are debtors of the paternal 
handwriting. Yet, after you quoted his words, by which you 
thought your opinion gained some support, you went on to 
say: 'Since then, it is crystal clear that this is the sound and 
true doctrine, which in the first place reason and then the 
authority of Scripture supports and which the learning of 
holy men has always sustained who, however, attributed 
authority to the truth itself and not by their own agreement, 
but received testimony and glory from their association with 
it let not a conspiracy of the wicked disturb any of the 
prudent.' Of what use are these words of yours except to 
show either how in this matter you have neglected to learn 
the opinions and statements of Catholic doctors, or, if you 
took the pains to learn them, by what fraud you try to deceive 
the ignorant? For, leaving aside reason and the authority of 
holy Scripture, has the learning of holy men always sustained 
that opinion by which you deny that infants are born subject 


to the sin of the first man? This is not indicated by the number 
of testimonies of the many holy and learned men which I 
have cited; on the contrary, I think that you now see how 
far you are deceived in this opinion, if you are not trying to 
deceive, and did not know this long ago. But let me believe 
better of you; if you have learned this now for the first time, 
if you see now for the first time that so many holy and learned 
men have learned and taught what we also learn and teach 
on the subject of the sin of the first man, namely, that infants 
who are generated physically are bound by it and are not 
released from it except by spiritual regeneration, then change 
this opinion of yours, forget this error and near madness, with 
which you insult so many great Fathers by calling them 
Manichaeans. If you have done this in ignorance, why do you 
not cast aside your wretched stupidity; if you have done it 
knowingly, why do not put away your blasphemous boldness? 
(30) You are convicted on every side. The numerous 
testimonies of the saints are clearer than daylight. See into 
what assembly I have introduced you. Here is Ambrose of 
Milan, whom your teacher Pelagius praised so highly that he 
said: 'In his books the Roman faith shone out most clearly, 
who bloomed as a beautiful flower among the Latin writers, 
so that not even his enemy would dare censure his faith and 
his most pure interpretation of the Scriptures. Here is John 
of Constantinople, whom you quoted as outstanding among 
the learned and holy men in this very work which I am re- 
futing. Here is Basil, whose words, which do not have any- 
thing to do with the matter in hand, you thought gave you 
support. Here are others whose general agreement ought to 
move you. This is not, as you write with an evil pen, a 
conspiracy of the wicked. They were famous in the Catholic 
Church for their pursuit of sound doctrine; armed and girded 
with spiritual arms, they carried on strenuous warfare against 
heretics. After they had faithfully completed their labors in 


this world they fell asleep in the arms of peace. 'One, 5 you 
say, 'came forth' (meaning me) 'who wishes it to be under- 
stood that the crisis of the battle depends on him.' Listen, 
not I alone, but a great many holy and learned doctors answer 
you for me and with me, and for the salvation of all of us 
and your own, if you are wise. 

(31) It is not, as you slander, that we set only the murmur 
of the populace against you although the populace itself 
murmurs against you for the reason that this is not a question 
which can escape the popular knowledge. Rich and poor, 
high and low, learned and unlearned, men and women, know 
what is forgiven to each age in baptism. Hence, too, mothers 
in all the world run daily with their little ones not only to 
Christ, that is, the Anointed, but to Christ Jesus, that is, 
the Saviour also. But see to what I have introduced you : the 
assembly of these saints is not a popular multitude; they are 
not only sons but also fathers of the Church. They are of that 
number of whom it is prophesied: 'In the place of thy 
fathers sons are born to thee, thou shalt set them as princes 
over all the earth.' 1 From her, sons are born to learn these 
things; they became her fathers that they might teach. 

(32) Why do you boastfully say that you rejoice that this 
truth, which you consider error or wish to consider so, can 
find no supporter in such a great multitude? As if it were a 
slight .proof that in this most sure and ancient foundation of 
the faith the very multitude scattered over the whole earth 
does not disagree. But, if you seek supporters for it among 
those who have produced something of literary value, and 
whose teaching is famous, then here is a memorable and 
venerable assembly and agreement of supporters. St. Irenaeus 
says that the ancient wound of the Serpent is healed by the 
faith of Christ and the cross, and that we were bound by 

l PS. 44.17. 


original sin as if by chains. St. Cyprian says that the infant 
perishes unless he is baptized, although it is not his own sins 
that are forgiven him, but those of another. St Reticius says 
that the old man whom we stripped off has not only old, but 
inborn, sins. St. Olympius says that the fault of the first- 
formed was scattered in the seed, so that sin is born with man. 
St. Hilary says that all flesh comes from sin, with the excep- 
tion of Him who came in the likeness of sinful flesh, without 
sin. He says that he is born of sinful origin and under the law 
of sin, whose words are: 'I was conceived in iniquity/ 2 St. 
Ambrose says that those infants who are baptized are re- 
formed from wickedness at the beginning of their natural life. 
He says that, alone of those born of woman, our holy Lord 
Jesus experienced no contagions of earthy corruption in the 
newness of His immaculate birth. He says that in Adam we 
all die because through one man sin entered into the world, 
and his guilt is the death of all. He says that by his wound 
Adam would have slain all the human race unless that 
Samaritan, descending, had healed its grievous wounds. He 
says that Adam was and in him all were ; Adam perished and 
in him all perished. He says that we are stained by contagion 
before we are born and that no human conception is without 
sin, because we are conceived, he says, in the sin of our 
parents and are born in their transgressions. And birth itself 
has its contagions and the nature itself has not only one 
contagion. He says that the Devil is the usurer by whom Eve, 
duped, obligated the whole human race in the subsequent 
posterity, which is subject to the interest. He says that Eve 
was deceived by the Devil in order to deceive her husband 
and put his inheritance under obligation. He says Adam was 
so vitiated by the bite of the Serpent that we are all lamed 
by that wound. He says that through the bodily union of man 

2 Ps. 50.7. 


and woman no one is without sin. But He who is without sin, 
that is, the Lord Christ, is also without this kind of concep- 
tion. St. Innocent tells you that by the laver of regeneration all 
former fault is cleansed away which came through him who, 
falling by free will, was plunged into the depths. He says 
that infants cannot have life unless they eat the flesh of the 
Lord and drink His blood. St. Gregory says that it would 
have been better not to have fallen from the tree of life by 
the very bitter taste of sin, but that, after the fall, we must 
amend our lives. He says that we fell from good into misery 
and wishes us to return from misery to better things, so that 
those who were condemned by the taste of the forbidden tree 
may be justified through more abundant grace by the cross 
of Christ. He says that that ^birth is to be revered through 
which we are deliyered from the bonds of our earthy birth. 
He says that by the regeneration through water and the 
Spirit the stains of the first birth, by which we are conceived 
in iniquity, are cleansed away. St. Basil says that we have 
contracted the disease of sin because Eve did not wish to 
fast from the forbidden tree. He says, finally, that we have 
fallen from paradise because we have not fasted, and he 
teaches that we should fast in order to return there. They 
say to you with one mouth, so many holy bishops Eulogius, 
John, Ammonianus, Porphyry, Eutonius, the other Porphyry, 
Fidus, Zoninus, Zoboennus, Nymphidius, Chromatius, Jovi- 
nus, Eleutherius, Clematis: We did not acquit Pelagius 
except because he condemned those who say that infants 
even if they are not baptized have eternal life. Now, answer 
whether the just God could deprive of eternal life His own 
image, if not subject to any sin. 

(33) Finally, the holy Bishop John says he whom you 
mentioned honorably, whom you praised as holy and learned, 
of whom you said that he received testimony and glory from 


his association with truth even he says that Adam so sinned 
that great sin that he condemned all the human race in com- 
mon. He says that at the death of Lazarus Christ wept because 
mortality, cast out from eternity, loved the world of the dead, 
and because the Devil made mortal those who could have 
been immortal. He says that before the sin of man beasts were 
subject in all ways to man, but, after that sin entered, we 
began to fear beasts, and thus far did he wish it understood 
that that sin of the first man pertains to all men; for who 
does not see it follows that no beast would harm infants 
unless their physical birth bound them also with the chain of 
that sin? He says, in the same sermon by which you wished 
to deceive the incautious, that Christ found us bound by our 
paternal handwriting, which Adam wrote, and by our own 
later sins. He explains the passage of the Apostle on which 
this whole question depends, which reads: 'Through one 
man sin entered into the world,' 3 and the rest of the context 
of this passage. Nor does he in his long discussion say what 
you say, that this sin passed to all men, not by propagation 
of the race, but by imitation; on the contrary, he shows by 
not disagreeing with the teaching of his fellow bishops that 
the truth is quite otherwise. For he says that all were defiled 
by the sin of the first man, and lest anyone think that this 
happened not by physical generation, 4 but by moral imitation, 
he says that Adam was called a figure of him who was to 
come because, just as he became the cause of the death 
induced by the food to those born of him although they do 
not eat of the tree, so Christ, for those who are of Him, even 
though they have done nothing just, became the purveyor 
of justice which He bestowed on all through the cross. He 

3 Cf. Rom. 5.12. 

4 Augustine seldom uses generatio in the more common sense of 
'generation' as the result of the process of generation. In nearly every 
instance in this book, 'generation' signifies the less usual English 
meaning of the act and process of generating or begetting. 


says that a Jew who denies that the world can be saved by 
the virtue of one man, Christ, can be refuted by the sin of 
the first man, since by the one, Adam, when he disobeyed, 
the world was condemned. He says it seems not to make 
much sense that one should be condemned for another, yet 
that happened through Adam; hence, he argues that much 
more plausibly should we find it more fitting and reasonable 
that one should be saved for another, which was fulfilled in 
Christ. But who does not see that, if the sin of the first man 
passed unto all men not by propagation but by imitation, 
then no one is condemned for another's sin, but each one for 
his own, not a sin transmitted to him by another through 
generation, but which he himself of his own will committed 
by imitation. He says that grace destroyed not only that one 
sin of the first man; but also the sins that came in afterwards. 
Here he sufficiently distinguishes later sins, which we can say 
are committed by imitation, from that one which passed to 
men by propagation, and shows that both are destroyed by 
grace, so that, according to the intention of the Apostle, we 
see that regeneration brought more benefit than generation 
brought harm. Thus he explains what has been written : 'But 
not like the offense is the gift. For the judgment was from 
one man unto condemnation, but grace is from many offenses 
unto justification.' 5 By this statement, that imitation of yours, 
which *is the new contrivance of the Pelagian error, is refuted 
by the writings of the Apostle Paul and the explanation of 
Bishop John. And he also says about baptism itself, explaining 
what the Apostle says: 'All we who have been baptized into 
Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death,' 6 that to be 
baptized into the death of Christ is nothing else but to die 
in sin, as He died in the flesh. Hence, it is necessary either 
that infants are not baptized into Christ, or, if they are 

5 Cf. Rom. 5.16. 

6 Rom. 6.3. 


baptized, they are baptized into His death; thus, they also 
die to sin and, since they have no personal sin, they are 
cleansed from the contamination of another's sin, that is, 
original sin, which has become common to all. 

(34) Walled about by such a mound of holy and learned 
men, do you still think that our cause 'could find no defender 
in such a great multitude'? Or will you call so complete an 
agreement of Catholic priests 'a conspiracy of the wicked'? 
Nor will you think St. Jerome deserves your scorn because he 
was but a priest, yet learned in Greek and Latin, and even 
in Hebrew eloquence, and going from the Western to the 
Eastern Church lived until extreme old age in holy places 
and in sacred writings, and read all or nearly all who before 
him in both parts of the world had written on the teachings of 
the Church, and held and expressed no other doctrine on this 
matter. When he was explaining the Prophet Jonas, he said 
very plainly that even infants are held subject to the sin 
which Adam sinned. 7 Are you, then, so in love with your 
error, into which you fell carelessly in youthful confidence 
and human frailty, that you not only dare to disagree with 
these priests of Catholic unity and truth, men from all parts 
of the earth, agreeing with each other in such harmony of 
faith, and in so important a matter, wherein the sum and 
substance of Christian religion consists but that you even 
dare in addition to call them Manichaeans? If you do not do 
this, then you are not doing it to me justly, since you see that 
in the same matter I have followed in their footsteps by my 
arguments which have made you fiercely angry at me. But if 
you heap such opprobrium upon me alone for no other 
reason except that I think what they think about the sin of 
the first man and hold what they hold and preach what they 
preach, then who does not see that you are casting open 
insult at me, but secretly judge the same of them? If you 

7 Jerome, In Jonam 3. 


consider, to say nothing of the rest, either the words of 
Bishop John about our paternal handwriting which Adam 
wrote, words I believe you found in that sermon from which 
you took what you wished, or of Bishop Ambrose, that no 
one coming from the union of man and woman can be with- 
out sin, which you read in my book but feared to touch upon 
in yours and if your face is bold before men yet your 
mind will blush before God. 

(35) But I, in view of the love I have for you, which by 
God's mercy you shall not remove from the fibres of my 
heart by any insults, I should prefer, my son Julian, that you 
might conquer yourself by a better and stronger youth and 
overcome by a more powerful piety that pride (what is it but 
human?) because of which you wish your opinion to prevail, 
whatsoever it may be, just because it is yours. And just as 
Polemo, gradually taking from his head and flinging aside the 
garlands of luxury, hid his hands under his cloak and 
changed his face and expression to one of modesty, and 
finally gave himself up wholly as disciple to him whom he had 
intended to mock, so do you since so many venerable men 
are speaking to you, especially Bishop Ambrose, praised in 
the integrity of his Catholic faith even by the mouth of your 
wicked teacher and deceiver, and also Bishops Basil and John, 
whom you also by truthful testimony placed among the holy 
and learned men cast aside like the garlands of drunken 
men the praises of the Pelagians by which you are lifted up 
as their great defender. Break your abusive pen, to put it 
mildly, with repentant hand, not merely hiding it, as it were, 
under the cloak of modesty; and give back your heart, as one 
who has withdrawn, not giving it up as one coming for the 
first time, not to the Platonist Xenocrates, but to these 
Christian bishops, or, rather, through them to the Lord Christ 
to be filled with the truth. If this advice of mine displeases 
you, do as you please. If you repent, which is what I most 
desire, I shall have great and abounding joy; but if, what 


I deprecate, you remain in this perverseness, I shall have 
gained from your insults an increase of heavenly reward for 
me and the sting of sorrowing pity for you. 

Chapter 8 

(36) Since I have shown how many great and worthy 
men, defenders and teachers of the Catholic faith, you falsely 
make Manichaeans, hear a little how you aid the true 
Manichaeans by your ignorant boldness. For I promised that 
I would prove this in the second part of my argument. The 
Manichaeans (and you have sufficiently shown that you know 
this) teach that there are two natures, one of good and the 
other of evil, coming from two different and hostilely opposed 
co-eternal principles a sacrilegious vanity of an evil error. 
In oposition to them the Catholic faith teaches that the 
nature of God alone is without beginning, that is, the nature 
of the supreme and changeless Good, namely, of that ineffable 
Trinity. And it holds that by this aforesaid supreme and 
changeless Good all creation was established, and all natures 
good, although unequal to the Creator, because they were 
created from nothing and thus are changeable; so that there 
is no nature at all which is not either Himself or made by 
Him; so that, however great or of whatever sort a nature is, 
in so far as it is a nature, it is good. 1 

1 Since Julian thought that the phrase, 'natural sin" and similar uses 
of the word 'natural' betrayed Manichaeism in Augustine's position, 
it is useful to mention the chief significations by which Augustine 
indicates various aspects of the same reality in his varied use of the 
terms natura and naturale, although this is usually evident from the 
text itself. 'Nature' is sometimes used here to mean the intrinsic 
principle by which things in general, or a particular thing, becomes 
and is what it is and is preserved and perfected. It may also be 
used to mean a special kind of being that has an existence of its own. 
Again, it may also be used to mean the individual existing in a special 
nature, where 'nature' is taken in the second sense. 


(37) They ask us, then, whence comes evil. We answer, 
from good, but not from supreme and changeless Good. 
Therefore, evils arose from inferior and changeable goods. 
Though we understand, indeed, that these evils are not 
natures but faults 2 of natures, at the same time we understand 
that they cannot exist except from and in natures, and that 
evil is not anything but a falling away from goodness. But a 
falling away of what, except of some nature, without a doubt? 
Because even an evil will is certainly the will of some nature 
or other. Both angel and man kre Surely natures. It cannot 
be a will of no one when there is a will. And these same wills 
are of so much worth that they constitute qualities of those 
natures whose wills they are. For, if one asks of what sort is 
an angel or a man of evil will, it is* correct to answer, 'evil/ 
taking the name of (he quality from the evil will rather than 
from the good nature. The nature is the substance itself 
which is capable both of good ancj of evil. It is capable of 
goodness by participation of the good by which it was made. 
It receives evil not by a participation of evil, but by privation 
of good, that is, not when it is mixed with a nature which is 
an evil something, because no nature inasmuch as it is a 
nature is evil, but when it falls away from the nature which 
is the supreme and unchanging Good, because it was made 
not of that nature but of nothing. Otherwise, it could not 
even have an evil will, if it were not changeable. Now, a 
nature would not be changeable if it were of God, and not 
made by Him of nothing. Therefore, God is the author of 
goods when He is the author of natures, whose spontaneous 
falling away from the good does not indicate whom they were 
made by, but whence they were made. And this is not some- 

2 Augustine uses vitium both for the more general idea of a fault and 
for the special idea of a vice, in accordance with the Latin usage. 
The term has usually been translated here as 'fault/ the better to 
render his intentional references to his doctrine that evil itself con- 
sists in defect. 


thing, since it is absolutely nothing; therefore, it cannot 
have an author, because it is nothing. 

(38) Therefore, as the Manichaean is opposed to the 
Catholic faith, that is, the faith of truth and true piety, since 
he says that good and evil are so opposed to each other that 
he will not say a nature becomes evil when it falls away from 
good, and that this falling away itself is an evil of it; but says, 
rather, that evil itself is a nature, and, what is more senseless, 
a nature everlasting and without beginning, and he calls it a 
body and spirit; namely, a body whence the spirit operates 
and a spirit which operates from the body so it is impossible 
to say how much this adversary of the faith is aided by him 
who denies that evils arise from goods, and interprets in this 
way the words of the Lord: 'A good tree cannot bear bad 
fruit.' For God our teacher does not mean the tree to be a 
nature from which the fruit of which He speaks comes, but 
the will, whether good or evil, and the fruits the works, which 
cannot be evil if the will is good, or good if the will is evil. 
This is what He means by saying: 'A good tree cannot bear 
bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit,' 3 as though He 
should say: An evil will cannot do good works, nor can a 
good will do evil works. For, if we seek the origin of the trees 
themselves, that is, of the wills themselves, what are they 
except natures, which God made good? Therefore, evils 
arose from goods; not evil works from good wills, but evil wills 
from good natures. What, then, does the Manichaean so hope 
to hear as this, that evils cannot come from goods, so that, 
because we cannot deny there are evils, nothing is left except 
that they must come from evils, if they cannot come from 
good natures; and thus, without beginning, evils have an 
origin of their own, namely, a nature of evil which has always 
existed without beginning, and there are two natures, one of 
good, and the other of evil. For it is necessary either that 

3 Matt. 7.18. 


there are no evils, or they must come from good natures or 
from evil ones. If we say there are no evils, than we say in 
vain to God: 'Deliver us from evil.' 4 But if we say that evils 
arise only from evils, the Manichaean plague will triumph and 
will destroy everything and will violate the nature of God 
Himself by a mixture of an evil nature, as though His were a 
mutable nature. 5 Therefore, it remains for us to admit that 
evils come from goods, because, if we deny this, then they 
must come from evils, and we shall quite agree with the 

(39) Thus, when you say: 'Since according to the saying 
of the Gospel a tree should be known by its fruit, do you 
think we should listen to him who, declaring that nothing but 
evil comes forth from marriage, says it is a good?' you wish 
us to think of marriage as a good tree from which as bad 
fruit you will not have man born bound by the contagion of 
original sin, and you do not see you must needs make adultery 
a bad tree if marriage is a good tree. Therefore, if he who is 
born of marriage is the fruit of marriage and must then be 
without fault, lest bad fruit be born from a good tree, it 
follows that he who is born of adultery should not be born 
without fault, lest good fruit be born from a bad tree, since 
the Lord by divine authority says that bad fruit cannot come 
from a good tree or good fruit from a bad tree. So, in order 
to get out of this difficulty, because you say that a man 
cannot be born with a fault, even if born of adultery, you must 
deny that adultery is a bad tree, lest it seem that he who 
according to you is born of adultery without fault is born as 
good fruit from a bad tree, contrary to the definition of the 

4 Matt. 6.13. 

5 A consequence of the doctrine that the soul, which the Manichaeans 
said is of the nature of God, has been mixed by force with a creature 
of the substantial principle of evil and thus compelled to commit sins, 
although the soul itself was said to have the nature of the divine 


Lord. Therefore, deny that marriage is to be called a good 
tree, and admit you erred in saying this. But you will say a 
man born through adulterous union is not born of adultery. 
Whence, then? Of human nature, you will say, which even 
in adulterers is the work of God and not their own work. Why, 
then, do you not understand in the same way that a man 
born through the union of marriage is not born of marriage, 
but likewise of human nature, which in the married also is 
the work of God, not their own, and it is therefore not to be 
attributed to the goodness of marriage that those born con- 
tract evil from the fault of the nature, just as it is not attri- 
buted to the wickedness of adultery that those born derive 
good from the institution of the nature? But you understand 
by the good tree not what Christ wished us to understand, 
namely, the good will of man, but the work of God itself, 
that is, the marriage of men or their nature. And because 
these works of God are good, you say that evil cannot come 
from them, because a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. And 
thus the Manichaean concludes his argument against you on 
behalf of his dogma. You aid him so much by these words 
of yours that he desires nothing more than to hear that evils 
cannot come from goods. For, if this is accepted, he draws 
his conclusion and says to you: If evil cannot come from 
good, whence will it come except from evil? For evils cannot 
suddenly spring up of themselves without an author. But you 
say that evil cannot come from good, lest, contrary to the 
saying of the Gospel, a good tree bear bad fruit. It remains, 
he says, that there is an everlasting nature of evil, which can 
generate evils, because you admit they cannot come from 

(40) Are you now willing to change your opinon which you 
have expressed for the assistance of the Manichaean plague, 
not because you favored the Manichaeans, but because you 
did not know what you were talking about? For how could 


Christ have said: 'Either make the tree good and its fruit 
good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad' 6 since He 
said this to men whom He Himself had created if, from His 
good work which is man, evil could not come, as you think 
when you make the good tree the good work of God, that is, 
the marriage of men, or their nature; and thus say that evil 
cannot be born from this, because, if we say that evil is born 
from good, we contradict, as you think, Him who said: C A 
good tree cannot bear bad fruit,' although you know that 
from the good natures of the angel and the man whom no 
evil parents generated, but God supremely good had created 
from no parents, not merely bad fruit but the bad trees 
themselves came forth, from which bad fruit was to be born? 
But the Lord Jesus conquers the Manichaeans, because one 
man, that is, one nature, can produce either tree, and He 
also conquers you, because a bad tree can come from a good 
nature. From this is proved wrong what you say in favor of 
the Manichaeans, that 'Evils cannot come from goods,' which 
results in their saying evils cannot be supposed to come from 
anything else but the evil nature which their evil error 

(41 ) And not only in one passage, where you mentioned 
the good tree in the Gospel, but also in other places in your 
argument you give support to the Manichaeans by your per- 
verseness; for instance, in that passage where you say once 
mofe: 'Sin cannot be contracted through the nature, because 
the work of the Devil is not permitted to pass through the 
work of God.' To this I reply: How is the work of the Devil 
permitted to remain in the work of God, if it is not permitted 
to pass through the work of God? For who can doubt that it 
is worse for it to remain there than for it to pass through there? 
Perhaps you ask how the work o the Devil can remain in 
the work of God. Look no further; consider the Devil himself. 

6 Matt. 12.33. 


Certainly, the angelic nature is the work of God, but envy 
is the work of the Devil himself, and this work proceeded 
from him and remains in him. Therefore, it is false to say 
as you say: 'The work of the Devil is not permitted to pass 
through the work of God/ where you see it even remains. Do 
you not as yet see how grateful the Manichaean is to you? 
Are you not yet awake? For the Manichaean strives to show 
that evil cannot arise from the good work of God, so that, 
as he wishes, we may believe that evil cannot come from 
anywhere but from evil. Here you are of wonderful assistance 
to him. You say: 'Evil is not permitted to pass through the 
work of God,' so that he concludes very easily that far less 
can it arise from that through which it is not even permitted 
to pass. 

Chapter 9 

(42 ) Hear something else similar to this, even more serious, 
in which you again support the Manichaeans. You say: 
'Original sin has vanished, because the root of evil cannot be 
located in that which you say is the gift of God.' See how I 
shall refute this by the plain truth. Are not man's senses the 
gift of God? Yet, that enemy sower placed the root of evil 
there when by the Serpent's deceit he persuaded man to sin. 1 
For, if the human senses had not then received the root of 
evil, there would not have been assent to the evil persuasion. 
What shall I say of avarice, the root of all evils? And where 
is this except in the soul of man? And what is the soul of 
man except a gift of God? How, then, can you say, except by 
not considering what you are saying : 'The root of evil cannot 
be located in the gift of God?' But listen to what the 
Manichaean, whom these inconsiderate statements of yours 
strongly support, will say to you. If to be a rational creature 

1 Cf. Gen. 3.1-6. 


is a gift of God, and you say the root of evil cannot be 
located in the gift of God, with how much greater probability 
can it be said that the root of evil cannot arise from the gift 
of God? And thus with your support the Manichaean intro- 
duces a root of evil from that nature of evil which he imagines 
as not created by God, but co-eternal with God. For, if you 
say that the root of evil arose from the free will of a good 
nature created by God (which the Catholic truth teaches), 
he will very easily overcome you with those words of your 
own in which you say: 'The root of evil cannot be located 
in a gift of God/ since free will also is without doubt a gift 
of God. By this statement, 'The root of evil cannot be located 
in a gift of God/ you have given the Manichaean an argu- 
ment against you. For, if evil cannot be located in good, as 
you say to me, much less can evil arise from good, as he says 
to you. Thus, he will conclude that evil cannot come from 
anywhere but from evil, in which he will consider himself 
the victor, and he will be so in fact unless both he and you are 
refuted. Thus, the truth of the Catholic faith conquers the 
Manichaean, in your words, only because it also conquers you. 
For, if it did not overcome you when you say:* 'The root of 
evil cannot be located in the gift of God, 5 much less could 
it overcome the Manichaean when he says that the root of 
evil cannot arise from the gift of God. But, that it may over- 
come both of you, it says that the root of evil cannot arise 
from anywhere else or be anywhere else except from and in a 
rational nature, for a rational nature cannot be anything but 
a gift of God. But, since it was created from nothing by the 
supreme and unchanging Good, so that it might be a good, 
even though changeable, its falling away from the Good 
by which it was created is the root of evil from it or in it, 
because evil is nothing else but privation of good. 

(43) Farther on, where you say: 'The reasoned order of 
things does not permit that evil be produced from good or 


the unjust from the just,' you are using the words of the 
Manichaeans. For this is what they assert, that evil can be 
produced only from evil, and their whole vicious sect is built 
upon this foundation; that they first contend that evil cannot 
be produced from good. If we grant them this on your 
authority, we shall have no further means to refute their evil 
doctrines; and 'the unjust from the just' is the same thing as 
evil from good. Thus, the Catholic faith, in order to resist 
both you and them, says that evil was produced only from 
good, and the unjust from the just, for the angel and the 
man, from whom these were produced, were first good and 
just. Therefore, we cannot refute the Manichaeans unless we 
hear you admit that evils arose only from goods, and that 
these evils are not substances, but the faults of created sub- 
stances by which they fall away from the good because, being 
made from nothing, they are changeable. This is the sound 
Catholic teaching by which the poison of the Manichaean 
plague is expelled. 

(44) Hence, that teacher of mine, Ambrose, who is praised 
even by the mouth of your evil teacher, in the book he wrote, 
Isaac and the Soul, says: 'What, then, is evil but privation 
of good?' And again he says: 'Therefore, evils arose from 
goods. For there are no evils except things deprived of goods; 
by evils, however, goods stand out pre-eminently. Therefore, 
privation of good is the root of evil.' 2 You see how blessed 
Ambrose refutes the Manichaeans with the true reasoning of 
the Catholic faith. You see how, although he does not name 
them in the same discussion, he refutes them by the truth of 
his short statements. Behold what a man of God, whom, 
because of original sin, which he as a Catholic defends in Cath- 
olic fashion, you insult in a spirit of evil madness with the 
name of the Manichaeans, when he, in opposition to the sup- 
port you lend them, brings invincible aid to the Catholic 

2 Ambrose, De Isaac et anima 7.60. 


defenders who are opposing them. For he, in opposition to the 
Manichaeans, exclaims: 'Evils arose from goods,' and you 
exclaim against him in favor of the Manichaeans: 'That 
from which and through which bad fruit appeared must 
needs be evil'; and 'The work of the Devil is not permitted 
to pass through the work of God'; and 'The root of evil 
cannot be located in the gift of God 5 ; and 'The reasoned order 
in things does not permit that evil be produced from good or 
the unjust from the just.' These things you cry out for the 
Manichaeans against the voice of the Catholic truth pro- 
claimed through the bishop of God, so that, if you should be 
heard, the Manichaeans would conquer, saying, not to men- 
tion other things: 'If the reasoned order of things does not 
permit that evil be produced by good, then evils came not 
from goods, as Ambrose says, but, as we say, from the nature 
of evil.' Behold the whirlpool into which you have fallen by 
misunderstanding what the Lord meant when he said: 'A 
good tree cannot bear bad fruit,' since this does not refer to 
the nature or marriage, which God instituted, but to the 
good will of man, by which no evil deeds are done. 

(45) But, lest you or someone else should say: 'How can 
it be that bad fruit does not come from the tree which man 
makes, that is, from a good will, yet from the nature which 
God makes comes a bad tree, which itself produces bad 
fruits'.. as though man should make something better, from 
which bad fruit cannot come, than that which God makes, 
from which a bad tree can come lest anyone should err in 
this way, let him listen carefully to what Ambrose says: 'What 
is evil but privation of good? For there are no evils except 
things deprived of goods, because privation of good is the 
root of evil.' Let him understand, therefore, that the bad 
tree is an evil will, evil because it has fallen away from the 
supreme Good, where the created good is deprived of the 
creating Good, so that the root of evil in it is nothing else but 


the privation of good. But the good tree is the good will, 
because through it man is turned to the supreme and un- 
changing Good and is filled with good that he may bear 
good fruit. And hereby God is the author of all goods, that is, 
of both the good nature and the good will, which man does 
not produce unless God works in him, because the will is 
prepared by the Lord. 3 

(46) I now see that the order of my arrangement demands 
that I do, God willing, what I promised to do in the third 
place, namely, by the teachings of the Catholic bishops who 
lived before us those I can find who are concerned with the 
matter with which we are dealing to break down your 
brittle subleties and fragile arguments, because of which you 
think yourself very clever and brilliant. For this purpose I 
shall make a new beginning, concluding this lengthy book. 

3 Cf. Prov. 8 (Septuagint) . 


Chapter 1 

|ow I MUST UNDERTAKE what I have put in the third 
section of my treatise, to overcome by the help of 

the Lord your machinations, Julian, by means of 

teachings of the bishops who have most gloriously dealt with 
the holy Scriptures. Not that I shall show that they believed 
about original sin according to the Catholic faith, for I have 
already done this in the first part of this work so that I might 
show to how many great men, holy and famous doctors of 
the Church, you impute the crime of Manichaeism, and, 
when^you wish to defame me in the opinion of the ignorant, 
accuse of the wicked crime of heresy those who defended the 
Catholic faith against the heretics. But now we must refute 
by the statements of the saints your arguments in which you 
contend that the first birth of men must not be believed to 
be bound by original sin. It is fitting that the Christian people 
rate the statements of these men higher than your unholy 
novelties and choose to cling to them rather than to you. 
(2) Surely these are, it would appear, the topics of your 



dreadful arguments by which you terrify the weak and, less 
than is expedient for you, those versed in sacred literature. 
For you say that we 'by asserting original sin, say that the 
Devil is the creator of men who are born, condemn marriage, 
deny that in baptism all sins are forgiven, convict God of 
the crime of injustice, and make men despair of perfection.' 
You contend that all these things follow if we believe that 
infants are born bound by the sin of the first man, and for 
this reason are subject to the Devil unless they are reborn in 
Christ. Tor the Devil creates them, 5 you say, 'if they are 
created from this wound which the Devil inflicted on the 
human nature which was first created; and marriage is 
condemned if we believe men have something by which they 
are generated as damnable; and all sins are not forgiven in 
baptism if there remains in the baptized parents an evil by 
which their children are generated as evil. And how is God 
not unjust if. He forgives the baptized their own sins and 
condemns an infant because, though created by Him, the 
infant, without knowledge or will, contracts another's sins 
from those parents whose sins have been forgiven? And we 
must believe that virtue, which is understood to be the con- 
trary of vice, cannot be perfected because it is incredible 
that inborn vices and faults, which no longer are to be con- 
sidered faults, can be destroyed, for he does not sin who can- 
not be other than he was created/ 

(3) If you would diligently investigate these things and 
not oppose with unbelieving boldness those things which are 
founded on the ancient truth of the Catholic faith, then, 
nourished by the grace of Christ, you would come to those 
things which have been hidden from the wise and prudent 
and revealed to the little ones. 1 For great is the extent of 
the sweetness of the Lord, which He did not begrudge, yet 
hid for those who fear Him, and accomplished for those who 

1 Matt. 1125. 


hope not in themselves but in Him. 2 Therefore we say what 
that faith holds, of which it is written: 'Unless you believe 
you will not understand.' 3 Not the Devil, but the true and 
truly good God, is the Creator of men, ineffably producing 
the clean even from the unclean, although no man is born 
clean; hence, until he is cleansed by the Holy Spirit, he is 
obliged to be subject to the unclean spirit. And no unclean- 
ness of the natures, however great it be, is any crime of mar- 
riage, for the proper good of marriage is plainly distinct 
from many faults of the natures. And no guilt of sin remains 
which is not removed by the regeneration which is made 
in Christ, although a weakness remains, and he who is re- 
born, if he makes progress, fights against this within himself. 
Nor is God unjust, since He renders what is due to sins 
either original or personal; 4 rather would He be shown to 
be unjust or weak if He Himself, without preceding sin 
either original or personal, put 'the heavy yoke upon the 
children of Adam, from the day of their coming out of their 
mother's womb until the day of their burial into the mother 
of all,' 5 as is written, under which yoke His image is defaced, 
or if someone else put it upon them against His will. Nor 
is the perfection of virtue to be despaired of through the grace 
of Him who can change and heal a nature vitiated from its 

Chapter 2 
(4) So I shall begin to fulfill my promise. And I shall not 

2 PS. 30.20. 

3 Isa. 7.9 (Septuagint) . 

4 In this book the Latin word originate, which for the sake of clarity 
and adherence to custom, is here translated by the English 'original/ 
is seldom used with the meaning 'first,' or 'initial,' as is often true 
in ordinary English usage, but is best read as 'by way of origin' or 
'by means of origin.' 'Origin' itself most often means 'origination/ 
signifying the action of arising from a source. 

5 Eccli. 40.1. 


undertake to refute one by one with the testimonies of the 
saints these five arguments of yours in which you tie together 
the various points against the Catholic faith which you dis- 
cuss in this matter; but such of these as can be nullified and 
overthrown, even as I bring forward one by one testimonies 
from the works of Catholic bishops, these shall be nullified 
and overthrown, whether it be one or two or more or all, 
according to the value of what is brought forward. For in- 
stance, there is the remark made by blessed Ambrose in the 
book he wrote about Noah's ark: This announces the salva- 
tion to come to all nations through the one Lord Jesus, who 
could not have been the only just One, when all human 
generation was in sin, unless, being born of a virgin, He was 
not bound by the law of the bound generation. "Behold, " 
he says, "I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my 
mother bring me forth," 1 says he who was considered just 
above the others. Whom, therefore, could I call just but one 
free of these chains, whom the chains of the common nature 
do not bind? All were under sin; from Adam death reigned 
over all. May there come the only One just in the sight of 
God, of whom it may be said, not with the exception that 
"He sinned not by his lips," 2 but "He did no sin." ' 3 Say to 
him, if you dare, that he makes the Devil the creator of men 
born by the union of the sexes, since he excepts only Christ, 
because He was born of a virgin, from the chains of the 
bound generation; all others being born from Adam under 
the bondage of sin, since the Devil certainly sowed this sin. 
Charge him with condemning marriage, since he says that 
only the Son of a virgin was born without sin. Accuse him of 
denying that virtue can be perfected, since he says that faults 
are engendered in the human race at the very beginning of 
conception. And say to him what you think you said very 

1 PS. 50.7. 

2 Job 1.22. 

3 1 Peter 222. 


aptly and cleverly against me in your first volume: 'And they 
who are said to sin do not sin at all, since by whomsoever 
they were created they necessarily live according to what 
they were created and do not go against their nature. 9 Say 
all these things to Ambrose or about Ambrose which you 
say about me so proudly and abusively and boldly and im- 
pudently. (For perhaps it cannot be said that by his words 
he defames even the sacrament of baptism, saying that full 
remission of sins is not given in it, or makes God unjust be- 
cause He condemns in the children the sins of others which 
He forgave in the parents; because when he said this he was 
not speaking of the offspring of baptized persons.) Further- 
more, if St. Ambrose was not one of those who consider the 
Devil the Creator of men or condemn marriage, or think 
human nature incapable of virtue, but, rather, one of those 
who recognize and confess that God the supreme and su- 
premely good is the Author of the whole man, that is, of the 
whole soul and the whole body, and who honor marriage in 
the goodness of its own degree, and do not despair of the 
perfect justification of man, then these your three arguments 
are overthrown by the authority of this great man, and are 
no longer to be used against us who say of original sin what 
he said, who neither attributed the creation of man to the 
Devil nor condemned marriage, nor despaired of the perfec- 
tion of justice in the nature of man. 

Chapter 3 

(5) About your two remaining arguments which concern 
baptism we shall soon see what that man thought, and how he 
crushes you by the vast weight of his authority. For he says 
in his book against the Novatians: 1 *A11 men are born under 

1 Ambrose, DC pocnitentia 1.3.13. 


sin, our very origin is in a fault, as you read where David 
says: "Behold I was conceived in iniquities and in sins did 
my mother bear me." This is why the flesh of Paul was the 
body of death, as he himself says: "Who will deliver me from 
the body of this death?" 2 But the flesh of Christ condemned 
sin, which He did not experience in His birth and crucified 
in His death, so that in our flesh there might be justification 
through grace where previously there was impurity through 
guilt.' Here truly all your arguments are overthrown at once. 
For, if all men are born under sin, our very origin being in 
a fault, why do you accuse me of saying that the Devil is 
the creator of men? And if David, because the origin of man 
is in a fault, said: 'Behold I was conceived in iniquities and 
in sins did my mother bear me' and this statement does not 
condemn the union of marriage, but original sin why do 
you say I condemn marriage, which you would not dare 
say of Ambrose? If, because all men are born under sin and 
our very origin is in a fault, the flesh of Paul was the body of 
death, as he himself says: 'Who will deliver me from the body 
of this death?' do you finally see that the Apostle wished also 
to indicate himself in these words 2 of his? Thus, while his 
inner man was delighted with the Law of God, he saw an- 
other law in his members warring against the law of his 
mind, and therefore he called his flesh the body of death. 
Therefore, in his flesh no good dwelt, because he did not the 
good that he wished, but performed the evil that he hated. 
Behold, your whole case is overthrown, ruined, crushed, and 
like the dust which the wind sweeps from the face of the 
earth 8 it is swept from the hearts of those whom you at- 
tempted to deceive, if they are willing to put aside their de- 
sire of contention and consider these things. For was not the 
Apostle Paul baptized? Or had he not been forgiven every 

2 Cf. Rom. 7.15-24. 

3 Cf. Ps. 1.4. 


sin whether original or personal, either of ignorance or of 
knowledge? Why, then, did he say such things unless what I 
said in my book, which you boast you have refuted, is alto- 
gether true? Indeed, this law of sin which is in the members 
of the body of this death, is forgiven by spiritual regeneration, 
yet also remains in the mortal flesh, forgiven indeed, because 
its guilt is remitted by the sacrament through which the 
faithful are reborn ; but it remains, because it produces desires 
against which the faithful struggle. This is the thing which 
completely overthows your heresy. And this you see and fear 
so much that you attempt to escape these words of the 
Apostle only by asserting with all your might that here 
we must not understand the person of the Apostle him- 
self, but of a Jew still under the Law and not under 
grace, against whom the habits of his evil conduct were 
fighting as though the force of habit itself were laid aside 
in baptism and the baptized themselves did not struggle 
against it, and all the more strongly and fiercely the more 
they strive to be pleasing in the eyes of Him by whose grace 
they are aided, lest they be overcome in this contest. And 
if you would consider this attentively and without stubborn- 
ness, truly you would find in the force of habit itself how 
concupiscence is remitted in its guilt and remains in its action. 
For we cannot say nothing happens in a man when he is dis- 
turbed by the goading of his concupiscence even when he 
does not consent. But it was not because of the force of habit 
that the Apostle called his flesh the body of death, but be- 
cause of what Ambrose rightly understood, that we are all 
born under sin, and our very origin is in a fault. He could 
not doubt that the guilt of this fault had been forgiven him 
in baptism, but, fighting against its disturbance, he feared 
first to be defeated and overcome by it and then, rather than 
fighting a long time, even invincibly, he preferred not to 
have an enemy, when he said: 'Unhappy man that I am, 


who will deliver me from the body of this death? The grace 
of God through Jesus Christ our Lord,' knowing that we are 
healed of the activity of concupiscence by the grace of Him 
who healed us of the original guilt of it by spiritual regener- 
ation. This war which we have undertaken to fight within 
ourselves is experienced within themselves and they cannot 
deny it by the keenest opponents of lust, not by its most 
shameless eulogizers. 

(6) Finally, even the most glorious Cyprian says in his 
Epistle on the Lord's Prayer : 'We pray that the will of God 
may be done in heaven and on earth, both of which concern 
the consummation of our safety and salvation. For, since we 
possess a body from earth and a spirit from heaven, we are 
ourselves earth and heaven, and we pray that in both that 
is, in body and spirit the will of God may be done. For there 
is a struggle between the flesh and the spirit, and a daily war- 
fare between them as they disagree with each other, so that 
we do not the things we will; while the spirit seeks the 
heavenly and divine, the flesh desires the earthly and worldly. 
And so we pray that, by the aid and assistance of God, 
harmony may be established between these two, so that while 
the will of God is done in both, the spirit and the flesh, the 
soul which has been reborn through Him may be saved. This 
the Apostle Paul declares openly and plainly in his words: 
"The flesh," he says, "lusts against the spirit and the spirit 
against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, so that 
you do not do what you would." ' 4 See how the noble doctor 
instructs the baptized people (for what Christian does not 
know that the Lord's Prayer concerns the baptized?), that 
they may understand that man's safety and the salvation of 
his nature consists in this, not that the flesh and the spirit, 
as though by nature hostile to each other as the Manichaean 

4 Gal. 5.17. 


foolishly thinks, may be separated, but that they may be 
healed of the fault of discord and be in harmony. For this 
it is to be delivered from the body of this death: that what 
is not the body of death may become the body of life, death 
itself dying in it; an end of discord, not of the nature. Hence 
it is also written : 'Death, where is thy victory?' 5 That this is 
not accomplished in this life the same martyr testifies in his 
Epistle on Mortality, where he says that for this reason the 
Apostle Paul 'desires to be dissolved and to be with Christ, 
that he may no longer be subject to any sins and faults of 
the flesh. 9 Do you see how watchfully he explains this passage 
in the Lord's Prayer against your doctrine, in which you trust 
in your own strength? For he teaches: 'This is rather to be 
asked of the Lord than presumed of our own strengh, that 
not human virtue but divine grace may establish harmony 
between the flesh and the spirit'; wholly agreeing with the 
Apostle who says: 'Who will deliver me from the body of 
this death? The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.' 
(7) St. Gregory also attests this when he says: Tor when 
the soul is in labor and difficulty, when it is beset in hostile 
manner by the flesh, then it flees to God and, learns whence 
it should seek aid.' And lest anyone suspect that in these 
words of Bishop Gregory the flesh besetting in hostile manner 
comes from a contrary nature of evil according to the madness 
of the Manichaeans, let him see how Gregory agrees with 
his brothers and fellow doctors, teaching that the spirit lusts 
against the flesh for no other reason than both may be recalled 
to their Author after that very serious conflict between them 
in this life, in which the life of every saint labors. In his 
Apology he says: *I do not mention those blows by which 
we are assailed within ourselves by our own vices and pas- 
sions and are attacked day and night by the fiery goads of 
this lowly body, the body of death, now secretly and now 

5 I Cor. 15.55. 


even openly, provoked and excited everywhere by the entice- 
ments of visible things, by the dregs of this filth in which we 
are mired and which exhales the stench of its loathesomeness 
from its spacious veins, but also by the law of sin, which is 
in our members and wars against the law of the Spirit, seeking 
to lead captive the royal image which is within us, so that 
whatever it is which flowed into us by the benefit of that 
divine and first creation may fall prey to its arms. Only with 
great difficulty may one guiding himself by a long and severe 
course of philosophy and gradually recovering the nobility 
of his soul recall and reflect back to God the nature of light 
which is in him conjoined to this lowly and shadowy clay; or, 
if he act with the favor of God, he will certainly recall both 
alike, provided that by long and careful meditation he 
becomes accustomed always to look up and to lift up that 
matter which is joined to him by close bonds and which 
always drags and presses him down. 96 Recognize, son Julian, 
the Catholic voices that are in agreement, and cease to dis- 
agree with them. When blessed Gregory says: 'We are assailed 
within ourselves by our own vices and passions and are 
attacked night and day by the fiery goads of this lowly body, 
the body of death,' a baptized person is speaking and he is 
speaking of the baptized. When he says: 'the law of sin which 
is in our members and wars against the law of the spirit," a 
baptized person is speaking and he is speaking of the baptized. 
This is the battle of faithful Christians, not of infidel Jews. 
Believe it, if you are not fighting, and by this fight also cast 
out the rebellious pride of the Pelagian error. Do you now 
see, do you now understand, do you now return to your senses, 
and realize that in baptism there is remission of all sins, and 
in the baptized person there remains, as it were, a civil war 
of interior faults? For they are not the kind of faults which 
ought to be called sins, provided concupiscence does not 

6 Gregory Nazienzen, Apologeticus primus de sua /uga. 


draw the spirit to unlawful works and does not conceive and 
bring forth sin, yet they are not outside us. These we must 
strive to conquer, if we make progress as we toil in this con- 
test; they are ours, they are passions, they are faults, they are 
to be bridled, checked, cured, but while they are being cured 
they are dangerous. And though, as we advance to better 
things, they are diminished more and more, yet, while we 
live here, they do not cease to exist. When a godly soul 
departs hence they will perish; in the risen body they will 
not return. 

Chapter 4 

(8) Let us return, then, to blessed Ambrose. 'Even the flesh 
of Paul,' he says, 'was the body of death, as he himself says: 
"Who will deliver me from the body of this death? 5 ' ' This 
is the opinion of Ambrose, of Cyprian, of Gregory to say 
nothing at present of other doctors of similar authority. To 
this death it will be said at the end: 'Death, where is thy 
victory?' But this is the grace of the regenerated, not of the 
generated. Tor the flesh of Christ,' Ambrose continues, 'con- 
demned sin, which He did not experience in His birth and 
crucified in His death'\He did not experience it in Himself 
in His birth and He crucified it in His death. Thus, the law 
of sin warring against the law of the mind, which existed also 
in the members of so great an Apostle, is forgiven in baptism, 
not ended. From this law of the flesh warring against the 
law of the mind the body of Christ drew nothing to itself, 
because the Virgin did not conceive from this law. From this 
law of the flesh warring against the law of the mind there 
is none who by his first birth does not draw with him this 
same law itself, because no woman conceives except from 
this law. And thus the revered Hilary did not hesitate to say 
that all flesh comes from sin; but did he therefore deny that 


it comes from God? Just as we say flesh comes from flesh, 
and also flesh comes from man do we hereby deny that it 
comes from God? It is also from God because He creates it, 
and it is from man because he generates it, and it is from sin 
which corrupts it. But God who begat the Son co-eternal 
with Himself, the Word which was in the beginning, through 
whom He created all that was not, also created Him man 
without fault, born of a virgin, not of the seed of man, and 
in Him He regenerates generated man, and heals vitiated 
man, from guilt at once, and from weakness little by little. 
And he who is regenerated, if he has the use of reason, strives 
as in a contest against his weakness, God watching and 
helping him, for strength is made perfect in weakness when 
against this part of us which departs from justice war is 
waged by that part of us which progresses toward justice, so 
that the whole rises to the better with victorious progress, 
sinks to the worse with non-victorious defection. But an 
infant who as yet has not the use of reason is indeed neither 
in good nor in evil by his own will, because he does not 
turn his thoughts to either; in him both the natural good of 
reason and the original evil of sin are inactive and dormant. 
But as he grows older and reason awakes, the commandment 
comes and sin revives, and, when it begins to fight against 
him as he grows, then appears what was latent in the infant; 
it either conquers and he will be condemned, or it is con- 
quered, and he will be healed. Yet, this evil would not have 
been without harmful effect even if the infant had departed 
from this life before it had begun to manifest itself in him, 
because the guilt of this same evil not guilt by which the 
evil itself is guilty, but by which it makes him guilty in whom 
it is as it is contracted by generation, so it is not removed 
except by regeneration. This is the reason infants are bap- 
tized, not only that they may enjoy the good of the kingdom 
of Christ, but also that they may be delivered from the evil 


of the kingdom of death. And this cannot be done except 
through Him who 'in His flesh condemned sin, which He 
did not experience in His birth and crucified in His death; 
that in our flesh there might be justification through grace 
where previously there was impurity through guilt. 5 

(9) According to these words of blessed Ambrose, then, 
the Devil did not in his goodness create man, but corrupted 
man in his wickedness; nor did the evil of concupiscence take 
away the good of marriage; nor is the guilt of any sin left 
unremitted in the sacrament of baptism; nor is God unjust 
who condemns by the law of justice him who is made guilty 
by the law of sin, even though he is born of that law which 
is no longer able to make his parent guilty because the parent 
has been reborn. And why, if these things are true, should 
we despair of that strength [virtue] which is made perfect in 
weakness, 1 since through the flesh of Christ, which condemns 
the sin He did not experience in His birth and crucified in 
His death, justification through grace is made also in our 
flesh, in which previously there was impurity through guilt? 
In consequence, those five arguments of yours by which you 
particularly terrify men will not be able to trouble others or 
you, if you believe Ambrose, Cyprian, Gregory, and other holy 
and famous Catholic doctors, nay even yourselves, also, that 
the law of sin which dwells in the members of man, warring 
against the law of the mind, the law by which the flesh lusts 
against the spirit, forces even upon baptized saints the neces- 
sity of fighting: and against what, if not evil? not a subtance, 
but the fault of a substance, which by the grace of God 
regenerating us is not imputed to us, which by the grace 
of God aiding us is to be bridled, and which by the grace 
of God rewarding us is to be healed. 

1 2 Cor. 12.9. 


Chapter 5 

(10) But perhaps you may say that the baptized fight rather 
against this which they have themselves caused by the evil 
habits of their former life, not against that with which they 
were born. Yet, if you say this, you already without doubt 
see and admit that there is in man something evil which is 
not itself taken away in baptism, but only the guilt which 
had been contracted from it. However, since it contributes 
little to the solution of this problem unless it is proved to have 
been born in us from the sin of the first man, listen to what 
St. Ambrose says more plainly in another place, in his Expo- 
sition of the Gospel according to St. Luke, when he is deal- 
ing 1 in various ways, yet not at variance with the one rule 
of faith, with that passage 2 where the Lord says that in one 
house three shall be divided against two and two against 
three: 'We can see,' he says, 'the flesh and the spirit divided 
from the odor, touch, and taste of luxury, separating them- 
selves in one house from the opposing vices and subjecting 
themselves to the Law of God and removing themselves from 
the law of sin, and their dissension turned to nature through 
the transgression of the first man, so that they could not agree 
with each other in equal zeal for virtue; yet through the Gross 
of the Lord our Saviour, who made void the enmities as well 
as the Law of the commandments, they accorded in mutual 
harmony after Christ our peace, descending from heaven, 
made both one.' 3 Again, in the same work, when speaking 
of the spiritual and incorruptible food, he says: 'Reason is 
the food of the mind, and a noble and sweet nourishment, 
which does not burden the body, and changes not into some- 
thing shameful in nature, but into something glorious, when 

1 Ambrose, Expositio Evangelii secundum Lucam 7.141-143. 

2 Luke 12.52. 

3 Cf. Eph. 2.14. 


the wallowing place of lust is changed into the temple oi 
God, and the inn of vices begins to be the shrine of virtues. 
This takes place when the flesh, returning to its nature, recog- 
nizes the nurse of its strength and, putting aside the boldness 
of its obstinacy, is joined to the will of the regulating soul 
such as it was when it received the secrets of dwelling in 
paradise, before it was infected with the poison of the pestilent 
Serpent and knew that wicked hunger, and through glut- 
tonous greed brushed aside the memory of the divine com- 
mandment which inhered in the senses of the soul. It is hence, 
we are told, that sin flowed from body and soul as though 
from its parents; the nature of the body being tempted, the 
soul suffered with the body's disorderly health. For, if it had 
restrained the appetite of the body, the soul would have des- 
troyed in its very beginning the origin of sin; but the soul, in 
its now corrupt vigor, heavy with burdens not its own, gave 
birth to sin as though in an evil pregnancy by the action of 
the male, the body. 5 

(11) Here, surely, the teacher Ambrose, so highly praised 
by the mouth of your teacher, most openly and fully declared 
both what original sin is and whence it is, and whence came 
the first confusion which was the disobedience of the flesh 
disagreeing with the soul and this disagreement is healed 
by the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. You see 
whence the flesh lusts against the spirit, you see whence 
comes the law in our members warring against the law of 
the mind. You see that the discord of the soul and the flesh 
turned to nature, and through these enmities wretchedness 
flowed upon us which can be ended only by the mercy of God. 
Do not oppose me now, for, if you still do so, you see whom 
you are opposing at the same time. Indeed, you said that I 
strove for nothing more than that I might not be understood. 
And in some passages you interpret my meaning rather 
according to your own ideas, abusing men of somewhat 


slower minds, who do not understand that you are unwilling 
to be silent rather than able to reply to my book in your four. 
See how Ambrose pours forth a clear and lucid stream of 
eloquence; there is no place where the reader can be at a 
loss, where the listener can fail to hear. He says most clearly 
that the Apostle said: 'Who will deliver me from the body 
of this death?' because we are all born under sin and our 
very origin is in a fault. He says most clearly that the Lord 
Christ was without sin because, being born of a virgin, He 
was not bound by the chains of the bound generation and 
the common nature, and that He condemned sin, which He 
did not experience in His birth. He says most clearly that the 
disagreement of flesh and soul through the trangression of 
the first man turned to nature. He says most clearly that the 
flesh, the wallowing place of lust and the inn of vices, is 
then changed into the temple of God and the shrine of vir- 
tues when, returning to nature, it recognizes the nurse of its 
strength and, putting aside the boldness of its obstinacy, is 
joined to the will of the regulating soul, such as it was when 
it received the secrets of dwelling in paradise, before it was 
infected with the poison of the pestilent serpent. Why do I 
pile up these books against you, you ask? Look at him, dare 
oppose him, who confronted the poisons of your heresy before 
it was brought forth and has prepared these antidotes by 
which it can be expelled. If these are not enough, listen 

(12) In his Isaac and the Soul he says: 'Therefore, a good 
driver restrains and checks the bad horses and urges on the 
good. The good horses are four: prudence, temperance, forti- 
tude, justice. The bad horses are anger, lust, fear, injustice.' 4 
Does he say a good driver has good horses and does not have 
bad ones? No, he says: 'He urges on the good horses; he 
restrains and checks the bad.' What are these horses? Surely, 

4 Ambrose, De Isaac et anima 8.65. 


if we call or think them substances we favor or adhere to the 
madness of the Manichaeans. That this may be far from us, 
we understand that, according to the Catholic teaching, by 
these horses he means our faults, which from the law of sin 
resist the law of the mind. These faults will not be separated 
from us and exist somewhere else; if they are healed in us 
they will be nowhere. Why do they not perish in baptism? 
Will you not yet admit that their guilt perishes but their 
weakness remains; not a guilt by which they themselves were 
guilty, 5 but by which they made us guilty in the evil deeds to 
which they had drawn us? And their weakness does not re- 
main as if they were certain animals which are made weak; 
they are our own weakness itself. And we must not think 
that by the one bad horse is meant that injustice which is 
destroyed in baptism, for that was the injustice of the sins 
which we committed, which are all forgiven, and now no 
longer exist, whose guilt remained after they themselves came 
into being and passed away. But that law of sin whose guilt 
was remitted in the sacred font he called 'injustice,' because 
it is unjust that the flesh should lust against the spirit, 
although in our renewal there is justice, because it is just that 
the spirit should lust against the flesh, so that we may walk 
by the spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. This justice 
of ours we find named among the good horses. 

(13) Hear, also, what he says in the book he wrote about 
Paradise: 6 'Perhaps, 5 he says, 'the reason Paul said: "Secret 
words that man may not repeat," 7 was that he was still con- 
fined in the body, that is, he saw the passions of this body, 
he saw the law of his flesh warring against the law of his 
mind. 5 And again, in the same work: 'When he says the 

5 For the sense of this passage, which refers to an argument drawn 
by Julian from a problem he truly found in the matter, see Book 6, 
chapter 17. 

6 Ambrose, De paradiso 11.53. 

7 2 Cor. 12.4. 


Serpent was more cunning, 8 you understand whom he means, 
that is, that Adversary of ours who, however, has the wisdom 
of this world. But pleasure and delectation may also properly 
be called "wise," because we also read about "the wisdom 
of the flesh," where it is written: "Because the wisdom of 
this flesh is hostile to God." 9 And they who desire pleasures 
are clever in seeking out varieties of delectation. Or you may 
understand whatever kind of delectation is contrary to the 
divine commandment and hostile to our senses. Whence 
St. Paul says: "I see another law in my members, warring 
against the law of my mind and making me prisoner to the 
law of sin." ' 10 What kind of pleasure this teacher is speaking 
of in this passage is clear, because, in order that we might 
understand, he refers to the testimony of the Apostle, who 
says: 'I see another law in my members, warring against the 
law of my mind and making me prisoner to the law of sin.' 
This is that pleasure whose defense you have taken upon 
yourself, although even you find fault with its excess. Where 
and of what sort it is you clearly admit, but you defend and 
praise it in its moderate form with such adornment of words 
as if it had fixed this measure for itself, and not the spirit 
which lusts against its onslaught. He bravely stood out 
against it who exclaimed : 6 I see another law in my members, 
warring against the law of my mind.' If this force warring 
against it were slackened, into what impurities would it fall? 
Over what precipices would it not draw and hurl itself? Even 
now, as it makes its onslaught, behold, not some Jew as you 
think, but according to blessed Ambrose, the Apostle Paul 
says of himself: 'I see another law in my members, warring 
against the law of my mind and making me prisoner to the 
law of sin.' Again, in another passage in the same work, the 

8 Gen. S.I. 

9 Rom. 8.7. 
10 Rom. 7.23. 


same teacher says: Taul is attacked and he sees the law of 
his flesh warring against the law of his mind and making him 
prisoner to the law of sin; and he does not presume on his 
own conscience, but by the grace of Christ he trusts he will 
be delivered from the body of death. And still you think that 
no one can sin knowingly? Paul says: "For I do not the good 
that I wish, but the evil that I do not wish, that I perform." 11 
And still you think that knowledge profits a man when it 
increases the jealous hostility of sin?' In the same work this 
same bishop, addressing all of us and diligently pleading our 
common cause, also says: Tor the law of the flesh wars 
against the law of the mind, and we must toil with all our 
might to chastise the body and bring it back into servitude, 
and plant the things which are spiritual. 512 

(14) In another book which he wrote, On the Sacrament 
of Regeneration, or on Philosophy he says: 'Blessed is the 
death which delivers us from sin that it may reform us to 
God. "For he who is dead is acquitted of sin." 14 Is anyone 
acquitted of sin merely by the ending of his natural life? By 
no means, since a sinner who dies remains in his sin, but he 
for whom all sins are remitted in baptism is acquitted of sin.' 
Have you anything to say to this? Do you see how the vener- 
able man expresses the truth that in baptism the death of 
man becomes blessed when all sins are remitted? But listen 
to something else; listen to what you do not wish to hear. 
'We have seen,' he says, 'what mystical death is. Now let 
us consider what the burial ought to be. For it is not enough 
that our faults die, unless the luxury of the body decays and 
the tissue of all carnal bonds is dissolved, and all the cords 
of bodily uses are cut. Let no one flatter himself that he will 

11 Rom. 7.19. 

12 Ambrose, De paradiso 12.60; 15.77. 
14 Rom. 6.7. 


put on another form, will receive mystical precepts, will apply 
his mind to the practice of continence. We do not what we 
would, but what we hate, that we perform. Sin works many 
things in us. Very often, pleasures revive and rise up against 
us though we resist them. We must struggle against the flesh. 
Paul struggled against it, and at last he said: "But I see an- 
other law in my members, warring against the law of my 
mind and making me prisoner to the law of sin." Are you 
stronger than Paul? Have no confidence in the sedulous flesh 
and do not entrust yourself to it, since the Apostle exclaims: 
"For I know that in me, that is, my flesh, no good dwells, 
because to wish is within my power, but I do not find the 
strength to accomplish what is good. For I do not the good 
that I wish, but the evil that I do not wish, that I perform. 
Now if I do what I do not wish, it is no longer I who do it, 
but the sin that dwells in me." ' 15 However great the obsti- 
nacy of mind by which you are carried away, Julian, however 
great the stubborness with which you oppose us in defending 
the Pelagian error, you are surrounded by so much factual 
evidence given by blessed Ambrose, you are so refuted by 
the clarity of his statements, that surely, if no reason, reflec- 
tion, religious consideration, piety, humanity, or regard for 
truth you may have recalls you from your stubborn purpose, 
you show how powerful a thing it is in human evils to have 
reached a point where you do not wish to stay, yet from 
which you are ashamed to retreat. For I believe that this is 
how you will feel when you read this. Oh, if the peace of 
Christ might only conquer in your heart and a good repen- 
tance carry off the prize over an evil shame! 

15 Rom. 7.18-20. 


Chapter 6 

(15) But now note for a moment how from this law of 
sin, whose activity the mortal nature even of celibates is com- 
pelled to endure; upon which the chastity of marriage strives 
to place a rule of moderation; whence the concupiscence of 
the flesh and the pleasure you praise makes its attacks against 
the purpose of the will whenever it is aroused, even if it does 
not accomplish its acts, since it is bridled note, I say, how 
every man is generated from this law of sin and hence con- 
tracts original sin, as St. Ambrose explains in this same book 
of his On the Sacrament of Regeneration, or on Philosophy. 
'There is,' he says, 'a house which wisdom builds and a table 
filled with heavenly sacraments, at which the just man dines 
upon the food of divine pleasure, drinking the sweet cup of 
grace, if he rejoices in the abundant progeny of everlasting 
merits. Generating these children, David shunned those births 
of bodily union, and so he desired to be cleansed by the 
watering of the sacred fountain that he might wash away the 
stain ot earth and the flesh by the grace of the spirit. 
"Behold," he said, "I was conceived in iniquities and in sins 
did my mother bear me." 1 Evilly did Eve give birth, thereby 
leaving to women the inheritance of childbirth, and the re- 
sult that everyone formed in the pleasure of concupiscence 
and conceived in it in the womb and fashioned in it in blood, 
in it wrapped as in swaddling clothes, first undergoes the 
contagion of sin before he drinks the gift of the lite-giving 
air. 5 If you are not destitute of all human judgment you see 
what he states about the pleasure of concupiscence, to which 
you give your most shameless approval, this famous teacher 
Ambrose, praised by the testimony of your teacher, as I must 
often repeat: that in it each one is formed and in it con- 
ceived in the womb, in it fashioned in blood, and he is 

1 PS. 50.7. 


wrapped in swaddling rags, not woolen or linen cloths, or 
anything of that sort in which infants already born are 
wrapped, but, as it were, in the hereditary rags of his vitiated 
origin, that he may undergo the contagion of sins before he 
breathes this life-giving air, into which everyone who is born 
is cast as into a vast fountain of common and never-failing 
nourishment after the hidden breathing in his mother's 
womb; to weep at birth for the guilt which he contracted 
before his birth. Should not those first men have blushed, 
then, at the activity of this concupiscence, which plainly 
showed that they themselves were guilty, and also foretold 
that their children would be subject to the sin of their 
parents? And just as they blushed to leave exposed those parts 
of their bodies in which they perceived the disobedience of 
lust, so may you in obedience to the Catholic faith blush to 
praise what is shameful. 

(16) Note, also, what this same teacher wrote about this 
same covering of fig-leaves in his book On Paradise: 'Even 
more important,' he says, 'according to this interpretation, 
we find that Adam girded himself where he should rather 
have girded himself by the fruit of chastity. For in the loins 
where we are girded there are said to be certain seeds of 
generation; therefore, Adam was evilly girded with useless 
leaves to designate not the future fruit of future generation, 
but certain sins.' 2 Here the holy man certainly nullified your 
most elaborate and most careful argument against our believ- 
ing that after their sin Adam and Eve with open eyes girded 
their loins. 3 For, that you might there strive with much elo- 
quence, you went against the common sense of all and wished 
to ensnare them with the din of much talk. For what is so 
evident as that by girdles or loin cloths, called perizomata in 
Greek, and which are popularly called muniturae, men cover 

2 Ambrose, De paradiso 13.67. 

3 Gen. 3.7. 


or gird their loins. And that man of God with whose elo- 
quence we refute you did not trouble to explain this fact as 
though it were obscure, but only showed what it designates. 
He says: Tor in the loins where we are girded there are said 
to be certain seeds of generation, and therefore Adam was 
evilly girded there with useless leaves.' Why evilly? He con- 
tinues: 'to designate not the future fruit of future generation, 
but certain sins.' Do you have anything to say to this? Behold 
whence came that confusion; behold whence the covering 
and girding with leaves; behold whence the original sin in 
their posterity. 

(17) But St. John, Bishop of Constantinople, in so far as 
modesty could permit, clearly expressed this whole matter of 
the shame of the first men in two words, saying: They were 
covered with the leaves of the fig tree, hiding the outward 
appearance of sin.' Who does not see what and what kind 
of outward appearance of sin they had to cover in the region 
of the loins in their shame, when they were not ashamed by 
the nakedness of their bodies before they sinned? I beg you, 
understand; nay rather, permit men to understand what they 
understand with you, and do not compel us to argue any 
longer in almost shameless fashion about shameful things. 

(18) Rightly the same blessed John tells us, just as the 
martyr Cyprian did, 4 that circumcision was commanded for 
a sign of baptism. 'And see,' he says, 'how because of the 
threat the Jew does not defer circumcision, because every 
soul not circumcised on the eighth day shall be destroyed 
from his people. 95 'But you,' he says, 'defer a circumcision 
not wrought by hand, but through putting off the body of 
the flesh, although you hear the Lord Himself saying: "Amen, 
amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water 
and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." ' 6 

4 Cyprian, Epist. 64, ad Fidum. 

5 Gen. 17.14. 

6 John 3.5. 


You see how a man versed in the doctrine of the Church 
compared circumcision with circumcision, threat with threat. 
Therefore, what it is not to be circumcized on the eighth day 
is the same as what it is not to be baptized in Christ, and to 
be destroyed out of his people has the same significance as 
not to enter into the kingdom of God. And yet you deny 
that in the baptism of infants this putting off the body of 
the flesh, that is, the circumcision not wrought by hand, is 
solemnized, because you contend they have nothing which 
they need to put off. For you do not admit that they are dead 
in the circumcision of their flesh, which signifies sin, especially 
that which is contracted by way of origin. For through this 
our body is the body of sin, which the Apostle says is des- 
troyed through the cross of Christ. 7 

Chapter 7 

(19) Now, I have undertaken to attack you with the 
opinions of bishops who lived before our time and who faith- 
fully and memorably dealt with these divine precepts. Let 
us return, then, to Bishop Ambrose, who does not doubt that 
men, that is, the souls and bodies of men, are the work of 
God, and who honors marriage, and who teaches that in the 
baptism of Christ all sins are forgiven, and who recognizes 
that God is just, and does not deny that human nature is 
capable of virtue and perfection through the grace of God. 
These you make your five arguments, contending that none 
of these five things can be true, unless it is false that those 
who are born contract original sin. Yet, this very thing which 
you try to take away by your five arguments he states where 
necessary in his sermons, so that it is sufficiently clear to any- 
one what the Catholic truth is accustomed to preach and 

7 Rom. 6.6. 


what profane novelty tries to overturn. Or do you perhaps 
doubt that Ambrose himself also knew and taught that God 
is the Creator of men, both of soul and of body? Hear, there- 
fore, what he says in his book On Philosophy against the 
philosopher Plato, who asserted that the souls of men are put 
back into beasts and considered God the creator only of souls, 
saying that the creation of bodies was entrusted to lesser gods. 
'I am surprised,' he says, 'at so great a philosopher, that he 
shuts up the soul, to which he attributes the power of confer- 
ring immortality, in owls and frogs and clothes it in the fierce- 
ness of beasts; since in Timaeus he says that it is the work of 
God, made by God among things immortal, but asserts that 
the body does not seem to be the work of God, because the 
nature of human flesh does not differ in any way from the 
nature of the body of beasts. But, if the soul is worthy of 
being believed the work of God, how can it be unworthy of 
being clothed by a work of God?' Consider, Ambrose asserts 
against Platonists, that not only the soul, as they also say, but 
also the body, which they deny, is the work of God. 

(20) Or are you going to say that he condemns marriage, 
because he says that what is born therefrom, 'being formed 
in the pleasure of concupiscence, undergoes the contagion of 
sins? Then hear the opinion of Ambrose on marriage in his 
book about holy David. 1 'Marriage is good,' he says; 'the 
uniop is holy. But let those who have wives be as if they had 
none. The marriage bed is undefiled, and neither should 
deprive the other of it, except perhaps for a time, that they 
may give themselves to prayer. Yet, according to the Apostle, 
no one can give himself to prayer at the time when he exer- 
cises this bodily function.' 2 Listen to another statement in 
his book On Philosophy. 'Continence,' he says, 'is good, being 
as it were a kind of support of piety, for it makes stable the 

1 Ambrose. Apologia prophetae David. 11.56. 

2 Cf. 1 Cor. 729,5. 


footsteps of those who slip on the precipices of this life; it 
is a careful watcher, lest anything unlawful creep up on 
them. But the mother of all vices is incontinence, which turns 
even the lawful into vice. Therefore, the Apostle not only 
warns us against fornication, but also teaches a certain moder- 
ation in marriage itself, and prescribes times of prayer. For 
he who is intemperate in marriage, what is he but the 
adulterer of his own wife?' You see how he says marriage 
should have true soundness even within itself. 3 You see how 
he says that incontinence turns even the lawful into vice, 
where he shows that marriage is lawful, and he does not 
wish incontinence to defile what is lawful in it. You notice 
how you should understand with us in what disease of desire 
the Apostle was unwilling that one possess his vessel, not 
like the Gentiles who do not know God. 4 But to you lust 
seems culpable only toward one other than one's wife. What 
will you say of Ambrose, who calls intemperance in marriage 
a kind of adultery of one's wife? Do you honor marriage 
more in which you would allow a very licentious range to 
lust, lest, perchance, the one offended might find another 
defender for herself? 5 For you did not wish to touch even 
with a word what I mentioned the Apostle granted to hus- 
band and wife as pardonable (where, doubtless, a fault is 
noted, even though it is pardoned ) , nor did you dare mention 
in your reply the fact that the husband and wife are ad- 
monished to abstain from this act in order to give themselves 

3 In regard to this entire subject, it is useful to note that the word 
translated throughout this book as 'modesty' is pudicitia, by which 
Augustine usually means the virtue of chastity in its fullest sense; 
thus, it exceeds the meaning of the English word, and includes the 
less general virtue of modesty proper, which concerns the outward 
signs of the things unseemly because of the activity of lust, as well as 
the virtue of chastity itself, and also the disposition called bash- 
fulness, an auxiliary of chastity. St. Thomas discusses Augustine's 
use of this term in Summa thcologica, 2-2 q. 151, a. 4. 

4 Cf. 1 Thess. 4.4,5. 

5 An allusion to conscupiscence, personified as Julian's protege. 


to prayer, 6 which I recorded entirely; fearing, I believe, that 
your defense might seem false if on your admission it should 
appear that even the prayers of husband and wife are im- 
peded by lust, which you are not ashamed to defend. Thus, 
since you desired to answer me on its behalf but did not dare 
resist the Apostle and were not able to twist his testimony 
into another meaning as you usually do, you preferred to be 
completely silent about it. Who, then, honors marriage more: 
you, when you deface its dignity by making it a blameless 
wallowing place of carnal concupiscence; or he who, while 
he says marriage is not only lawful but also good and its 
union holy, yet recalls that the Apostle recommended times 
of prayer and abstinence from the pleasure of lust, and who 
does not wish husbands and wives to be given up to that 
disease whence original sin is contracted? Thus, according 
to the same Apostle, he wishes those who have wives to be 
as if they had none, and he does not hesitate to call an intem- 
perate husband the adulterer of his wife; weighing all the 
good of marriage not by the lust of the flesh but by the faith 
of chastity, not by the disease of passion but by the contract 
of union, not by the pleasure of lust but by the will for off- 
spring. He asserts that woman was given to man only for the 
purpose of generation, a matter which you thought it neces- 
sary to argue so long in vain, as if any of us denied this state- 
ment. These are his words on the subject, written in his book 
On Paradise: 1 'If woman is the source of guilt for man, how 
can we think she was given for a good? If you consider, how- 
ever, that God cares for the universe, you will find that this 
must please God more in which there is the cause of the 
universe than that is to be condemned in which is the cause 
of sin. Therefore, because the propagation of the human race 
could not be from the man alone, God said it is not good for 

6 Cf. 1 Cor. 7.6,5. 

7 Ambrose, De paradiso 10.47. 


man to be alone. 8 For God preferred that there be many for 
Him to save and forgive their sins, than Adam alone, who 
might be free of guilt. Finally, because the same One is the 
Author of both works, He came into this world that He 
might save sinners. Last of all, He did not permit Cain, guilty 
of fratricide, to perish before he had generated children. 
Therefore, woman was given to man for the sake of the 
generation of human posterity.' 

(21) There you have Ambrose, my teacher, and greatly 
praised by yours, not only admitting but also defending the 
opinion that every man and the flesh of man is the work of 
God, and that marriage as such is good. But that through 
original sin he by no means detracts from holy baptism I have 
shown above when I quoted his words, where he says: 'He 
for whom all sins are remitted in baptism is acquitted of sin.' 
Where does he not teach that God is just, or what Catholic 
can doubt this, which nearly all the ungodly also confess? 

Chapter 8 

(22) The fifth point remains: Whether Ambrose thinks 
human nature is capable of justification and perfection, and 
is not shaken in this opinion because he often and in many 
ways says that every man is born under sin and that his very 
origin is in a fault. But I showed this above 1 where I recalled 
that in the same passage, a little farther on, he says: 'The 
flesh of Christ condemned sin, which He did not experience 
in His birth and crucified in His death, so that in our flesh 
there might be justification through grace where previously 
there was impurity through guilt,' There he showed that 
human nature, even that which is born under sin and whose 

8 Cf. Gen. 2.18. 

1 Cf. above, 2.5. 


origin is in a fault, is capable of justification, but surely 
through grace, although this fact is hateful to you, the cruel 
enemies of this same grace. But if you have not heard enough, 
listen to what he says in his Explanation of the Prophet Isaias. 
'Let us see,' he says, 'whether our regeneration be not after 
the course of this life, of which it is said: "In the regener- 
ation when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his 
glory." 2 For, even as we speak of the regeneration of the 
laver, through which we are renewed by removal of the im- 
purity of sin, so this seems to speak of a regeneration through 
which, purified from every stain of corporal matter, we are 
with purified soul regenerated unto life eternal. 5 Truly, the 
holy and truthful man has distinguished the justification of 
this life, which takes place through the laver of regeneration, 
from its perfection, when our bodies also are renewed by im- 
mortality. Therefore, Ambrose, although he admits the fault 
in the origin of those born, does not despair of our perfect 
justification. For, as human nature can be fashioned by God 
the Creator, so it can be healed by God the Redeemer. 

(23 ) But you are in a hurry, and in your hurry you desert 
your presumption. For you wish man to be perfected here, 
and would have that indeed by the gift of God not a free 
gift, but one dependent on the decision of man's own will. 
You think you are far from this perfection, you say, but there 
is deceit in your mouth, whether you say you are sinners and 
wish to be thought just, or whether you profess a perfection 
of justice you by no means perceive in yourselves. Now, justi- 
fication in this life is given to us according to these three 
things: first by the laver of regeneration by which all sins 
are forgiven; then, by a struggle with the faults from whose 
guilt we have been absolved; the third, when our prayer is 
heard, in which we say: 'Forgive us our debts,' 3 because, 

2 Matt. 19.28. 

3 Matt. 6.12. 


however bravely we fight against our faults, we are men; but 
the grace of God so aids us as we fight in this corruptible body 
that there is reason for His hearing us as we ask forgiveness. 
You do not think that this mercy of God toward us is neces- 
sary for you, because you are of that number of whom it is 
said in the psalm: They 'trust in their own strength.' 4 But 
how much better we hear Ambrose in his Flight from This 
World, where he says: 5 'We often talk of fleeing from this 
world; would that our disposition were as careful and solici- 
tous as our speech is easy. But, what is worse, there frequently 
creeps upon us the enticement of earthy desires and the flood 
of vanities occupies our mind, so that you think about what 
you seek to avoid and turn it over in your mind. It is difficult 
for man to avoid this, and to strip it off entirely is impossible. 
That it is rather a matter of firm purpose than of actual 
effect is shown by the Prophet who says: "Incline my heart 
to thy precepts and not to avarice." 6 For our heart is not 
in our power, nor are our thoughts which, unexpectedly 
darkened, confuse our mind and soul, and draw them else- 
where than we intend. They recall them to the worldly, im- 
plant the earthy, force sensual matters upon us, and weave 
enticements and at the very time we are trying to lift up 
our minds they introduce vain thoughts, and we are often 
cast down to the earth.' If you do not suffer these things 
forgive us, but we do not believe you but recognize in these 
words of St. Ambrose a kind of mirror of common human 
infirmity, and that, even if we are making progress. But if we 
should believe you and say : Pray for us that we also may not 
suffer these things we would find you so lofty and haughty 
that you would answer us not only that you do not suffer 
theses things, but also that is is in man's power not to suffer 

4 Ps. 48.7. 

5 Ambrose, De fuga saeculi 1.1,2. 

6 Ps. 118.56. 


these things and there is no reason why he should ask the 
help of God for this. 7 

(24) How much better again to hear Ambrose as he con- 
fesses the grace of God and does not trust in his own strength, 
and, after saying this, adds: 'But who is so blessed that he 
always tends upward in his heart? Indeed, how can anyone 
do this at all without divine aid? It is completely impossible. 
Finally, the Scriptures say about this matter: "Blessed is the 
man whose help is from thee, Lord; his heart tends up- 
ward." ' 8 Again, he says in his book On the Sacrament of 
Regeneration: 'What but the soul uses the flesh for acting? 
Therefore, the soul is by nature the ruler and mistress of the 
flesh, and should subdue and govern the flesh. Therefore, 
supported by the help of the Holy Spirit, the soul says in the 
psalm: "I will not fear what flesh can do against me." 9 And 
it says similarly in St. Paul: "But I chastise my body and 
bring it into subjection." 10 Therefore, Paul chastises what is 
of him and not what is himself. For what is of him is one 
thing, what is himself is another. He chastises what is of him, 
so that he, being just, may bring about the death of bodily 
wantonness. 5 Was not St. Ambrose, when he said this, 
struggling against his faults? Was he not overcoming his 
faults? Was he not like a good soldier of Christ fighting within 
himself against an army of various desires? Was he not 
chastising his own body? Was he not in the conquest and 

7 In the second book of De peccatorum meritis et remissione, dealing 
with treedom trom sin in this life, St. Augustine answers four 
questions. (1) Man is able to be without sin in this life, with the 
aid of divine grace (2.6.7) , but (2) as a matter of fact, Scripture says 
no man is without sin in this life (2.7.8.) . (3) Man shows himself 
unwilling to be without sin when obliged to combat constantly 
against concupiscence and ignorance (2.17.26) . (4) Christ the Mediator 
alone is without sin in this life, because He alone was born without 
sin (2.20.34) .) See Summa theologica, 1-2 q. 109, a. 8, 9, 10 for a more 
explicit presentation of this doctrine. 

8 Ps 83.6. 

9 Ps. 55.5. 

10 1 Cor. 957. 


overthrow of the works of the Devil, seeking the peace of 
justice between the work of God and the work of God, that 
is, the soul and the flesh? And thus, not trusting in his own 
strength, but, as he says, 'supported by the help of the Holy 
Spirit, 5 he says: 'I will not fear what flesh can do against me.' 
Behold how human nature is shown to be capable of justifi- 
cation; behold how strength is made perfect in weakness. 11 
(25) But let us also hear on this matter that most glori- 
ous martyr Cyprian, in his Epistle on Mortality: 'We must 
contend,' he says, 'with avarice, with immodesty, with anger, 
with ambition; we must constantly carry on a trouble- 
some struggle with the vices of the flesh and with worldly 
enticements. The mind of man, besieged and surrounded on 
all sides by the invading forces of the Devil, scarcely can meet 
the individual assaults and scarcely can resist. If avarice is 
overcome, lust rises up; if lust is overpowered, ambition 
enters; if ambition is scorned, anger inflames, pride puffs up, 
drunkeness invites, envy destroys harmony, jealousy breaks 
friendship. You are urged to curse, which the divine law 
forbids; you are driven to swear, which is not permitted. So 
many persecutions the soul daily endures, by so many dangers 
is the heart oppressed; yet you are pleased to stand longer 
here among the weapons of the Devil, when, instead, you 
should desire and will to hasten more quickly to Christ by 
the help of death.' Yet, far be it from us to think St. Cyprian 
was a miser because he struggled with avarice, or immodest 
because he struggled with immodesty, or wrathful because 
he struggled with anger, or ambitious because he struggled 
with ambition, or carnal because he struggled with the sins 
of flesh, or a lover of this world because he struggled with 
worldly enticements, or lustful because he struggled with lust, 
or proud because he struggled with pride, or a drunkard 
because he struggled with intemperance, or envious because 

11 Cf. 2 Cor. 12.9. 


he struggled against envy. Actually, he was none of these 
things, precisely because he stoutly resisted these evil impulses 
coming partly from our origin and partly from habit, and 
did not consent to be what they tried to force him to be. Yet, 
in so dangerous and laborious a contest as this he did not 
escape the stroke of all hostile weapons, as he says in his 
Epistle on Almsgiving: 'Let no one flatter himself that his 
heart is so pure and immaculate that, relying on his innocence, 
he does not think medicine should be applied to his wounds, 
since it is written: "Who shall glory that he has a chaste 
heart? Or who shall glory that he is pure from sins?" 12 And 
again, let John write in his Epistle: "If we say that we have 
no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 13 
But if no one can be without sin, and whoever says he is 
blameless is either proud or foolish, how necessary and how 
kind is divine mercy, which, since it knows that those who 
have been healed afterwards receive wounds, has given us 
over and over again salutary remedies to cure and heal our 
later wounds.' O most famous teacher and glorious witness, 
so you have taught, so you have advised, so have given your- 
self to be heard and imitated! Deservedly, when all other 
struggles with desire were ended and all wounds healed, you 
fought against the last and greatest of all desires of this life, 
for the truth of Christ, and you conquered by the abundance 
of His grace toward you. Your crown is secure, your doctrine 
is victorious, in which you also conquer those who trust in 
their own strength. For they exclaim: 'The perfection of our 
strength is from ourselves,' but you reply: 'No one is strong 
by his own powers, yet by the forgiveness and mercy of God 
he is safe.' 

(26) Hear, also, most blessed Hilary, when he expresses 
his hope for the perfection of man. When he was speaking 

12 Prov. 20.9. 

13 1 John 1.8. 


of the peace of the Gospel, 14 where the Lord says : 'My peace 
I give to you,' 15 he said: 'Because the Law was the shadow 
of good things to come, therefore through this prefigured 
meaning he taught that we cannot be clean in this earthy 
and mortal dwelling which is the body unless through the 
washing of celestial mercy we obtain cleansing when, after 
the change of our earthy body in the resurrection, our nature 
has been made more glorious.' Again, in the same discourse, 
he says: 'That the Apostles themselves, although cleansed 
and sanctified by faith, were not without evil through the 
condition of our common origin He taught when He said: 
"If you, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your 
children." )16 You see how the venerable Catholic teacher 
does not deny our cleansing in this life, yet hopes for a more 
perfect human nature, that is, having received a more perfect 
cleansing, in the final resurrection. 

(27) But hear what he says in a homily on the book of 
holy Job, hear how he asserts that the constant war of the 
Devil himself against us results from this; that he arouses 
against us the evils that are in us. He wishes to teach 
us that this is for our own good, since the divine mercy uses 
the malice of the Devil for our purification. 'For so great and 
admirable is the goodness of God's mercy toward us,' he says, 
'that he through whom in the sin of Adam we lost the nobil- 
ity of that first and blessed creation; through him, I say, we 
may deserve to obtain again what we lost. For then in his 
envy the Devil harmed us; now, when he strives to harm us, 
he is overcome. For through the infirmity of our flesh he 
hurls all the weapons of his power, when he stirs us to lust, 
entices us to drunkenness, urges us to hatred, provokes us 
to avarices, excites us to murder, goads us to curses. But when 

14 Hilary, Expositio ps. 118 18.115. 

15 John 14.27. 

16 Matt. 7.11. 


all these temptations that come upon us are checked by a 
firm mind, we are cleansed from sin through the glory of 
this victory. For it has been said: "Or can he that is born 
of woman cleanse himself?" 17 If there is no war there will be 
no victory. And if we do not obtain victory over the faults 
that strive against us there will not be any cleansing from 
faults, for, if we conquer temptation in these snares of our 
body, we are purged of the strife of passions that war against 
us. Therefore, remembering and knowing that these very 
bodies of ours are the material of all vices, through which we 
are besmirched and soiled so that we have nothing clean, 
nothing harmless in us, we rejoice that we have an enemy, in 
striving against whom we fight a kind of war against the war 
in ourselves.' 

(28) In his explanation of Psalm 1, the same teacher does 
not hesitate to say that our own nature, namely, that which 
contracts disease from disease, is drawn to sin, so that in 
order not to commit sin we fight against our nature in a 
certain way, by our service to the faith. He says: 'There are 
many who, although they have been parted from wickedness 
by confessing God, are not hereby free from sin, not observ- 
ing the teachings of the Church, such as the avaricious, the 
turbulent, insolent, proud, greedy, the drunkards, hypo- 
crites, liars. And to these vices the impulse of our nature urges 
us, h^ut it is to our advantage to depart and not to tarry in 
the way to which we are drawn. Thus, "Blessed is the man 
who has not stood in the way of sinners," for our nature 
carries us toward this way, but our service to the faith 
carries us far back out of it.' 18 Shall we then think he was an 
accuser of the nature which God created? By no means. For 
this Catholic man did not doubt that human nature is the 
work of God, but he certainly accused the faults with which 

17 Job 25.4. 

18 Hilary, Expositio ps. 1 1 


we are born, holding to the statement of the Apostle: 'For 
we too were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.' 19 
But,. if these words which I have quoted from the sermon of 
St. Hilary were my own, how much would you say against 
me, and with what noisy outcries would you impute to me the 
name and crime of the Manichaeans? And now, lest the 
stomach of your wrath burst with repletion of undigested 
curses, send forth at him, if you dare, your slanderous false- 
hoods and lying madness. 'To these vices, 5 he says, 'the im- 
pulse of our nature urges us.' What is this nature? Is it the 
race of darkness which the fable of the Manichaeans intro- 
duces? No, indeed. A Catholic is speaking; a famous doctor 
of the Church is speaking; Hilary is speaking. Therefore, it 
is our own nature, vitiated by the transgression of the first 
man, not to be separated by any kind of division from another 
nature, but itself to be healed. You falsely say we make the 
Devil its author, whereas you grudge it Christ as Saviour, and 
contend that its life here can be led in perfection so that it 
is absolutely without any sin. 

(29) But listen to what blessed Hilary tells you beyond 
this. When he was explaining Psalm 51, he said: 20 'Hope in 
the mercy of God is forever and ever. For those very works 
of justice do not suffice to merit perfect blessedness, unless 
the mercy of God even in this will to do justice does not 
impute the faults of human changes and movements. Hence, 
this saying of the Prophet: "Thy mercy is better than 
lives." ' 21 Do you see that the man of God is one of that num- 
ber of the blessed of whom it was foretold : 'Blessed is the man 
to whom the Lord has not imputed sin, and in whose mouth 
is no guile'? 22 For he confesses even sins of the just, asserting 

19 Eph. 2.3. 

20 Hilary, Expositio ps. 52 (towards the end) . 

21 Ps. 52.4. 

22 Ps. 31.2. 


that they rather put their hope in the mercy of God than 
trust in their own justice, and therefore there is no guile in 
his mouth, nor, indeed, in the mouths of all those to whose 
truthful humility or humble truth he bears witness. This guile 
abounds in your mouth. For, where there is no virtue and 
so much boastfulness there is hypocrisy, and where there is 
hypocrisy there surely is guile. Truly, as much as the saints 
trust in the mercy of God, which is great, so much do you 
trust in your own strength, which is non-existent. And as 
much as they, assisted by the grace of God, wage war against 
inborn faults, so much do you wage war against this same 
grace of God. Would that as it conquers you in its own 
affairs, so, making you its own, it may also conquer you in 

(30) Thus, you dare say in your hearts that when men 
hear you they are inspired to virtue, but when they hear these 
others, men of such quality and importance, Cyprian, Hilary, 
Gregory, Ambrose, and other priests of the Lord, they are 
overcome by despair and give up the pursuit of perfection? 23 
Do such monstrous thoughts arise in your hearts and not 
make you feel ashamed? Then, do you honor, the saints of 
God, the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles, in your praise 
of the nature, and do these lights of the Church dishonor 
them by their censure of the nature in saying that in the body 
of this death, in order to hold fast the good of chastity, they 
fought against the inborn evil of concupiscence, which 
through the grace of God must first be conquered in combat 
and then cured in the final regeneration? You think it is a 
Jew who said: Tor I do not the good that I wish,' and this 
you say with the excellent intention of { not turning impurity 

23 Julian's contention that the Catholic position denies the possibility 
of human virtue is not merely speculative; it is obvious that the 
Pelagians accused the Catholics of permiting and even encouraging 
immorality among the people, as the Manichaeans are said to have 


of conduct to a hatred of the nature, or finding comfort for 
foulness in insulting the Apostles and all the saints.' And 
this evil, which you do not do, Ambrose did together with 
his colleagues who held the same doctrine, when he under- 
stands that the blessed Apostle speaks of himself when he 
says: 'I do not the good that I wish, but the evil that I do 
not wish, that I perform,' and 'I see another law in my mem- 
bers, warring against the law of my mind,' 24 and other re- 
marks of this sort? Therefore, do these holy men in teaching 
such things 'undermine,' as you accuse me, 'the wall of 
modesty,' while you, for preaching perfection, are hated? But, 
as you write, you are much comforted 'because it is a kind 
of glory to displease one who did not spare the Apostles.' If, 
in saying such things, I did not spare the Apostles, then 
neither did Ambrose spare the Apostles, rjor did his fellow 
bishops, who held the same doctrine. But, if they learned 
these things from the Apostles and taught them according to 
the Apostles, why do you attack me alone? Look at them, 
consider them again and again, putting aside a little your 
pride of mind. And thus, O most self-confident young man, 
should you take heart or mourn because you are displeasing 
to such men? 

Chapter 9 

(31) Now let us briefly sum up as best we can what we 
have discussed throughout this whole book. We proposec 
here by the weight of the authority of holy men, who were bish 
ops before us, and strenuously defended the Catholic faith no 
only by their words while they were living in this world, bu 
also by their writings which they left for posterity, to refut< 
your arguments, in which you say, 'If God creates men, thq 
cannot be born with any evil. If marriage is good, nothinj 

24 Rom. 7.19,25. 


evil arises from it. If all sins are forgiven in baptism, those 
born of the reborn cannot contract original sin. If God is just, 
He cannot condemn in the children the sins of the parents, 
since He forgives the parents their own sins as well. If human 
nature is capable of perfect justice, it cannot have natural 
faults.' To this we reply that God is the Creator of men, that 
is, of both soul and body; and that marriage is good; and 
that through the baptism of Christ all sins are forgiven; and 
that God is just; and that human nature is capable of per- 
fect justice. Yet, although all these things are true, men are 
born subject to the vitiated origin which is contracted from 
the first man, and therefore go to damnation unless they are 
reborn in Christ. And this we have proved by the authority 
of Catholic saints who assert what we say about original sin 
and also confess that all these five statements are true. There- 
fore, it does not follow that this is false because those are true. 
Indeed, such great men, according to the Catholic faith 
which of old was spread throughout the world, confirm the 
truth both of this and of those, so that your fragile and, as 
it were, oversubtle novelty is crushed by their authority alone, 
in addition to what they say, so that truth itself bears witness 
that it is speaking through them. But now your obstinacy 
must first be checked by their authority, and checked in your 
presumptious attack, and in some way wounded, so that when 
you finally believe that such men of God could not commit 
sucti an error in the Catholic faith that they would say 
something from which it would follow that God is not the 
Creator of men, that marriage is to be condemned, that not 
all sins are forgiven in baptism, that God is unjust, that we 
have no hope of perfect virtue all or any of which it is 
wicked to think you may restrain your headlong boldness, 
and, as it were, recovering from madness, may begin to con- 
sider and recognize and resume the truth in which you were 


(32) Blessed Ambrose says that only one man, the Mediator 
between God and men, because He was born of a virgin and 
did not experience sin in His birth, is not subject to the 
chains of the bound generation. But all men are born under 
sin, and their very origin is in evil, because, formed in the 
pleasure of concupiscence, they first suffered the contagion 
of sin before they breathed the vital breath of this air. He 
says that this concupiscence, as the law of sin in the body of 
this death, wars against the law of the mind, so that not 
only all the good and faithful but also the great strength of 
the Apostle fought against it, so that the flesh being subjected 
to the spirit by the grace of Christ may be brought back to 
harmony, because through the transgression of the first man 
discord was brought about between these two who were first 
created without sin. Who is it that says this? A man of God, 
a Catholic, and a most keen defender of the Catholic truth 
against heretics, even unto danger of death, one so highly 
praised by the testimony of your teacher that he said not 
even an enemy would dare find fault with his faith and his 
clear understanding of the Scriptures. He asserted that God 
is the Creator not only of souls but also of bodies, against the 
error of Platonic philosophers. He preached that marriage is 
good and that it was divinely instituted for the sake of the 
propagation of the human race, and that its union is holy 
through conjugal modesty. He said that none is acquitted of 
sin but one whose every sin is forgiven in baptism. He justly 
worshiped the just God. He was far from despairing of 
and hindering the perfection of man in virtue and justice, but 
it is in another life that he hopes for that perfection to which 
nothing is lacking, which shall be consummated by the resur- 
rection of the dead. In this life he placed human justice in 
a kind of warfare and battle not only against hostile powers 
of the air, but also against our own lusts, through which 
those external enemies themselves strive to overthrow us or 


enter into us. In this war he says the flesh itself is a dangerous 
adversary, whose nature as it was first created would have 
remained in harmony with us if it had not been vitiated by 
the sin of the first man, but it now strives against us in a kind 
of sickness. In this war the holy man warns us to flee from 
the world, and shows the great difficulty rather, the very 
impossibility of this flight, unless we are aided by the grace 
of God. He says that our faults are dead through the forgive- 
ness of all sins in baptism, but that we must take care, as it 
were, of their burial. In this same work he recounts that we 
have such a conflict with our dead faults that we do not 
what we wish, but do what we hate; that sin works many 
things in us while we struggle with it; that pleasures often re- 
vive and rise again; that we must struggle against the flesh 
against which Paul was struggling when he said: *I see an- 
other law in my members warring against the law of my 
mind.' He teaches us not to trust our flesh, not to rely on it, 
since the Apostle exclaims: 'I know that in me, that is, in 
my flesh, no good dwells, because to wish is within my power, 
but I do not find the strength to accomplish what is good.' 1 
See what a fight we have with our dead sins, as that active 
soldier of Christ and faithful teacher of the Church shows. 
For how is sin dead when it works many things in us while 
we struggle against it? What are these many things except 
foolish and harmful desires which plunge those who consent 
to them into death and destruction? 2 And to bear them pa- 
tiently and not to consent to them is a struggle, a conflict, a 
battle. And between what parties in this battle if not between 
good and evil, not of nature against nature, but of nature 
against fault, which is already dead but still to be buried; 
that is, entirely healed? How, then, do we say this sin is dead 
in baptism, as this man also says, and how do w confess 

1 Rom. 7.23,18. 

2 Cf. 1 Tim. 6.9. 


it dwells in our members and works many desires against 
which we struggle and which we resist by not consenting 
to them, as this man also confesses, except that it is dead in 
that guilt by which it held us, and until it is healed by 
the perfection of its burial it rebels even though dead? 
However, it is called sin, not in such a way that it makes 
us guilty, but because it is the result of the guilt of the 
first man and because by rebelling it strives to draw us 
to guilt, unless we are aided by the grace of God through 
Jesus Christ our Lord, lest even the dead sin so rebel that by 
conquering it revives and reigns. 

Chapter 10 

(33) The reason that we who toil in this war as long as 
human life is a trial on the earth 1 are not without sin is not 
that that thing called sin works in our members in this way, 
warring against the law of the mind, even though we do not 
consent to unlawful acts (for as much as pertains to us, we 
would always be without sin until this evil is healed if we 
never consented to evil) ; but that wherever we are overcome 
by the rebellious element, even though not mortally but 
only venially, we are nevertheless overcome, and herein we 
contract something, whence we daily say: 'Forgive us our 
trespasses.' 2 For instance husband and wife when for the 
sake of pleasure alone they exceed the limit necessary for pro- 
creation; or celibates when they linger with some delight in 
such thoughts, not indeed deciding to commit crime, but 
not turning away the intention of the mind as they should 
in order that they do not fall into sin, or not tearing it away 
if it falls. About this law of sin which in another way is also 

1 Cf. Job. 7.1. 

2 Matt. 6.12. 


called sin, and which wars against the law of the mind, 
about which blessed Ambrose had much to say, St. Cyprian, 
Hilary, Gregory, and many others have also spoken. There- 
fore, he who is born in Adam and must be reborn in Christ, 
dead in Adam and to be revived in Christ, is bound by orig- 
inal sin because he is born of the evil by which the flesh lusts 
against the spirit, not of the good by which the spirit lusts 
against the flesh. 3 Why, then, it is strange if a man must be 
reborn, since he is born of that evil against which the reborn 
fights and by which the reborn himself would also be held 
in guilt if he were not set free by being reborn? This evil 
is not the matter of God the Creator, but the wound of the 
Devil vitiating this matter. This is not an evil of marriage, 
but the sin of the first men transmitted to their posterity by 
propagation. The guilt even of this sin is remitted by the 
sanctification of baptism. And if the just God imposed evils 
so great I cannot at present recount them, upon infants who 
contract no sin, He would rather seem unjust. And man's 
perfect capacity for justice is not denied, because none could 
despair of the most complete healing of all faults under the 
care of the almighty physician. Because of this 'Catholic truth, 
holy and blessed priests, famous in their treatment of sacred 
doctrine, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Reticius, Olympius, Hilary, 
Ambrose, Gregory, Innocent, John, Basil, to whom I add, 
whether you wish it or not, the priest Jerome, omitting those 
who are still alive, have pronounced against you their opinion 
about the succession of all men which is bound by original 
sin, whence no one can rescue them except Him whom a 
virgin conceived without the law of sin warring against the 
law of the mind. 

(34) What reason have you to rejoice and gloat over me as 
victor, as though I could not find anything to do, any place 
to flee, if I were overwhelmed by the power of the judges, 

S Gal. 5.17. 


if I stood in the midst of the learned with you, if the trumpet 
of sound reason, as you say, blown I suppose by you, the 
greater trumpeter, and the arms of the listeners standing 
about and supporting you should make a great clamor? For 
so you envisage our contest in argument, and imagine as 
you please that I have nothing to answer your arguments. 
Thus the vain and insane imagination of your heart talks to 
you, as if you set me with you before Pelagian judges, with 
whose applause you can raise up your voice like a trumpet and 
speak against the Catholic faith and against the grace of 
Christ, by which both infants and adults are delivered from 
evil an error common to you and them in this ungodly 
novelty. Such judges within the Church of God, and that 
not without an opponent representing the other side, your 
teacher Pelagius succeeded in finding. From this judgment 
he himself, so far as concerns the opinion of men, came forth 
cleared, but your teaching was openly condemned. But 
wherever you are, wherever you may read this, I place you, 
deep within your heart, before these men whom I have con- 
stituted judges, not my advocates in this our debate, since they 
are not my friends and your enemies and in any way pre- 
judiced in my favor or prejudiced against you because of 
your offense. And I have not, with empty imagining, invented 
such persons as have never existed and do not exist, or whose 
teachings on the matter about which we are arguing are un- 
certain, but holy bishops famous in the holy Church, and I 
have quoted them by name as was fitting, men versed in 
sacred Scripture, not in Platonic or Aristotelean or Stoic or 
other such studies, either Greek or Latin although some of 
them were that, also. And I have arranged their doctrines as 
seemed sufficient to me, expressed without any ambiguity, 
that in them you may fear not themselves but Him who made 
them useful vessels for Himself, and holy temples; and they 
then judged the case when no one can say they were wrongly 


prejudiced for or against anyone. For you had not as yet 
been born, against whom we were to undertake the argument- 
on this question; you were not in existence to say what you 
say in your books: that we lie about you to the multitude 
and that we terrify men by the name 'Celestians' or 'Pela- 
gians,' and by terror force assent from men. Certainly, you 
yourself said that all judges ought to be free from hatred, 
friendship, enmity and anger. Few such could be found, 
but we must believe that Ambrose and the others, his col- 
leagues, whom we mentioned with him were of this calibre. 
But even if they were not so in the cases brought before them 
for trial during their lifetime and on which they passed 
judgment, they were so in this case, for they were involved 
in no friendship or enmity with us or with you; they were 
not angry at either of us, they felt no pity for either of us. 
What they found in the Church they held; what they learned 
they taught; what they received from the fathers they handed 
down to the sons. We were not as yet involved with you 
before these judges; they tried our case. Neither we nor you 
were known to them; we recite their judgments delivered in 
our favor against you. We were not as yet contending with 
you; we were victorious by their pronouncements. 

(35) You say that if I were overwhelmed by the power of 
judges such as you imagine for yourself I should not know 
what to do and where to turn; I should not be able to find 
any means of meeting your arguments. I certainly did know 
what to do. I knew where to turn. I called you forth from 
the Pelagian darkness to these brilliant Catholic lights, and 
I do so now again. So do you answer what you yourself can 
do; tell me where you will turn. I turn from the Pelagians 
to these; to whom will you turn from these? Or because you 
think that 'opinions should be not numbered but weighed,' 
and add (what, again, I grant to be true), that 'to find 
something a multitude of blind men is of no use,' will you 


dare call even them blind? Has the long day so confounded 
the highest with the lowest, and shall darkness be called 
light and light darkness to such an extent that Pelagius, 
Celestius, and Julian see, and Hilary, Gregory, and Ambrose 
are blind? But whatever kind of man you are, yet, because 
you are a man, I think that I sense your feeling of shame 
(if, indeed, all hope of health is not dead in you) and, after 
a fashion, hear your voice. You answer: Tar be it from me 
either to think or to call those men blind.' Then weigh their 
opinions. I do not wish them to be many so that it will be 
irksome for you to count them ; but they are not unimportant, 
so that you will not disdain to weigh them; rather, they are 
so important that I see you are burdened with their weight. 
Are you going to say also of them that I in my weakness am 
trying to create opinion of a force supporting me, and as if 
overcome by fear, I name my accomplices? 

(36) You say that, when judgment is passed, the noise of 
crowds must be removed, that for the discussion of such 
matters we must choose from all sorts and conditions of men, 
whether priests or governors or rulers, and not mere names 
but prudence and small numbers must be honored, whom 
reason, learning, and liberty elevate. It it true, as you say. But 
I do not disturb you by the large numbers of the multitude, 
although by the grace of God, about this faith which you 
oppose, even the multitude of the Catholics has sound judg- 
ment. In this, many, where they can and in whatever way they 
can, as they are given divine assistance, constantly refute your 
vain argument. Hence, I shun that arrogance of which you 
accuse me; far be it from me to promise, one for all, to carry 
on this case against you. However, you yourself do this among 
the Pelagians, not blushing to say and to write that it is to 
your greater glory before God to defend deserted truth. They 
are brought very low and truly deserted and depend very 
much on you if they do not consider it intolerable arrogance 


by which you put yourself above Pelagius and Celestius, the 
teachers of all of you, as if they had already given way and 
you alone remained to defend what you consider the deserted 
truth. But because it pleases you not to count numbers but to 
weigh the few, I shall exclude the judges of Palestine who 
condemned your heresy in acquitting Pelagius when they 
compelled him, overwhelmed with fear, to condem the Pela- 
gian doctrines; and I set against you as judges in this case 
ten bishops (now deceased) and one priest who passed judg- 
ment on this matter while they were alive. If we consider 
your small numbers, they are many; if we consider the mul- 
titude of Catholic bishops, they are very few. Of these you will 
perhaps try to remove Pope Innocent and the priest Jerome 
the former, because he condemned Pelagius and Celestius; 
the latter, because he defended the Catholic faith with pious 
zeal against Pelagius in the East. But read what Pelagius said 
in praise of blessed Pope Innocent, and see whether you can 
easily find other such judges. But of that holy priest who, 
according to the grace that was given him, labored so much 
in the Church to assist Catholic learning in the Latin tongue 
by many necessary works, Pelagius does not usually say much 
except to envy him as a rival. But I do not wish you to think 
that for this reason he should be removed from the number of 
these judges. For I have not quoted from those doctrines 
which he stated when defending his teaching against your 
error at the time of hostility, but what he wrote in his books, 
free from all partisanship, before your damnable doctrine 
sprang up. 

(37) About the others there is certainly no objection you 
could make. Were Irenaeus and Cyprian and Reticius and 
Olympius and Hilary and Gregory and Basil and Ambrose and 
John gathered in hostility against you 'from the plebian dregs 
of the mechanics,' as you jest in Ciceronian fashion? Were 
they soldiers, vagrant students, sailors, shopkeepers, fishmon- 


gers, cooks, porters? Are they dissolute youths from among the 
monks? Are they a crowd of nondescript clerics, whom you 
satirize by your polished wit or, rather, despise 'because they 
cannot judge about dogmas according to the Aristotelean 
Categories?' And if you, who loudly complain that an exam- 
ination and the judgment of the bishop is denied you, might 
find a council of Peripatetics in which a dialectical sentence 
might be pronounced about the matter in hand, and the 
point involved in it against original sin, these are bishops, 
learned, serious, holy, zealous defenders of the truth against 
garrulous vanities; in whose reason, learning, liberty three 
qualities you say are necessary for a judge you can find 
nothing to despise. If an episcopal synod were gathered from 
the whole world, it would be surprising if so many men of 
such calibre could be members of it. For these did not all 
live at one time, but God, as it pleases Him and He judges 
expedient, Himself distributes His stewards, faithful, few, more 
excellent than many, in diverse ages, times and places. So you 
see them gathered from various periods and regions, from the 
East and the West, not at a place to which men are obliged 
to travel, but in a book which can travel to men. The more 
desirable these judges would be for you if you held the Cath- 
olic faith, which they sucked with their mother's milk, which 
they took in their food, and they have ministered this milk and 
food to great and small, openly and bravely defending it 
against its enemies even you who were not then born; 
whence you now stand revealed. With such planters, waterers, 
shepherds, fosterers, the holy Church grew after the time of 
the Apostles. This is why she feared the profane voices of 
your novelty, and, being cautious and sober as a result of 
the Apostle's warning, lest, as the Serpent seduced Eve by 
his cunning, her mind be seduced from the chastity which is 
in Christ; 4 she shuddered at the toils of your doctrine creeping 

4 2 Cor. 11.3. 


toward the virginity of the Catholic faith like the head of a 
serpent; she trod upon it, crushed it, cast it away. Therefore, 
by the statements and the great authority of holy men you 
will either be cured God's mercy granting it, and He who 
may accomplish it knows how much I desire it for you or, 
what I deprecate, if you persevere in this your wisdom which 
is really great folly, you will no longer merely seek judges 
before whom you may justify your cause, but before whom 
you may accuse so many famous and brilliant holy teachers 
of the Catholic truth: Irenaeus, Cyprian, Reticius, Olympius, 
Hilary, Gregory, Basil, Ambrose, John, Innocent, Jerome, 
and the others, their comrades and colleagues, and, in addi- 
tion the whole Church of Christ, to which divine family 
they faithfully ministered the food of the Lord and thus grew 
famous in the glory of the Lord. But against this wretched 
madness, which I pray God may remove from you, I see 
that your books must be so answered that the faith of these 
men is defended against your attacks, just as the Gospel itself 
is defended against the ungodly and professed enemies of 


Chapter 1 

ERE ARE SAINTLY MEN, many and great, learned in 
sacred letters, brilliant, highly honored and praised 

for their remarkable government of the Church. If 
you will not now yield and accept their authority, you must 
surely assert that they erred, whether you choose to insult them 
as you insult me, or more gently show them a certain persona] 

1 Since Augustine begins in this book to refute, one at a time, the argu- 
ments advanced by Julian, it is not difficult to reconstruct the 
arguments contained in the lost work by Julian from the statements 
Augustine quotes in his replies, if Julian's two principal objectives 
are recalled; namely, his intention to refute the Catholic position 
stated by Augustine in De nuptiis et concupiscentia, and his hope 
of establishing his own doctrine. His general attack on Augustine 
is based on the five arguments well summarized above in 2.1. The 
positive doctrine he wishes to establish, and the means he uses, seem 
to follow the outline given by Augustine in Contra duas epistolas 
Pelagianorum (4.2.2) . 'In all these charges, whatever they say about 
the praise due the creature and marriage, they try to relate to this: that 
there is no original sin. Whatever they say about the praise due 
to the Law and free will, they wish to relate to this: there is no 
grace except where there is merit first, and thus grace is no longer 
grace. Whatever they say about the praise due the saints, they 
try to relate to this: that mortal life in the saints has no sin, and 
it is not necessary for them to beseech God to forgive their trespasses.' 



respect. Therefore, I am duty bound to answer you, Julian, 
my son, and, God willing, so to refute your books and your ar- 
guments, that you will see, if you are able, that the thing of 
which you have tried to persuade others is something of which 
you yourself were badly persuaded, and will do wholesome 
penance for your youthful and rash advance and fall. Your 
emendation will not only be good for you, but also for many 
others, if you realize and confess how truthfully and not 
vainly this large number of great rulers and doctors of the 
Christian peoples learned and taught in the Church of God 
that which you, who were deceived by a novelty resembling 
the truth, were eager to overthrow. But, God forbid, if you 
keep your heart so clouded that you cannot understand, or 
if you are of that number whom the truth describes in the 
holy psalms, when it says, 'He would not understand that he 
might do well,' 2 of those of whom it is written, 'A slave will 
not be corrected by words: because he understandeth what 
thou sayest, and will not answer,' 3 my efforts, or those of the 
same mind who through the grace of Christ are defending the 
Catholic faith against your error, will not be unfruitful. If 
there are some subverted and disturbed by unsual error, there 
is a greater number whom the defense of the ancient truth 
will either instruct or correct. I shall not repeat all you said, 
lest the book be too long. But with the Lord's help, I shall 
let none of your supposedly astute arguments go unsolved 
and unvanquished. 

(2) Let us consider the judges before whom you say you 
cannot conduct your case, 'because he who does not show 
himself free of partisan hatred or anger or friendship is not 
a good judge of doubtful matters.' Those who will judge your 
case, you complain, will not be so qualified 'because they 
began to hate it even before they began to know it.' We have 

2 PS 35.4. 

3 Prov. 29.19. 


already answered your complaint. 4 If you are looking for the 
kind of judges described by Sallust, from whom you took the 
definition, you must certainly accept Ambrose and his fellow 
bishops, whose hearts were devoid of hatred for you in this 
cause, and devoid of friendship and of anger, and, to offer 
another qualification which Sallust named, although you did 
not mention it, they were devoid of mercy for you or against 
you when they passed their true and tranquil judgments about 
it. But you think it a small matter that you are unwilling to 
have these men as judges, unless you also regard them as 
culprits. How, I ask you, did these men who condemned your 
cause begin to hate it before they knew it? Undoubtedly, those 
men hated it because they knew it. They knew you to say there 
is no evil in infants at birth which must be purged by rebirth. 
They knew you to say that the grace of God is given according 
to our merits, so that grace would not longer be grace, because 
it is not given gratuitously, but rendered as something due. 5 
They knew you to say that a man in this life can be without 
sin, so that what the whole Church says in the Lord's prayer, 
'Forgive us our trespasses,' 6 is not necessary for him. These 
things they knew in you, and these things they very rightly 
hated. If they know you have corrected these errors, they will 
love you. It is not true, as you say, that If anyone either says 
there is free will in men or that God is the Creator of those 
merely, born, he is called a Pelagian or Celestian.' A Pelagian 
or Celestian is he who does not attribute to the grace of God 
the freedom to which we have been called, and who denies 
that Christ is the deliverer of infants, and who says that a cer- 
tain petition in the Lord's prayer must be made by every just 
man in this life, but not for his own sake. Whoever takes the 
name attached to this error is partaker of its fault. 

4 See above, 2.10.34. 

5 C;. Rom. 11.6. 

6 Matt. 6.6. 


(3) It is not necessary for us here to name the Catholic 
lights you dare to defame with the crime of Manichaeism, 
whether you are unaware of doing so or only pretend to be ig- 
norant. If, as you say, The emperor has spoken for our side,' 
why do you not further allege the public authority to show 
that it is you whose faith the Christian prince has approved? 
If, however you understand the law of God not as it is in 
itself, but as it is your good pleasure, what wonder if you be- 
have likewise about the law of the emperor? But you promise 
that you will carry out these actions more fully elsewhere. If 
you do so, they will be either refuted as deceitful or despised 
as futile. 

(4) You seem to rejoice much as you say that 'One source 
hopes that men will think him the center of the battle;' that 
is, you want to seem David while I shall be Goliath. If you 
have made this compact and agreement with the Pelagians, 
it follows that, if you are vanquished, that will end their 
daring. God forbid that I should ever challenge your side to 
single combat, since, wherever any of you appears, the ubi- 
quitous army of Christ routs you. That army routed Celestius 
at Carthage when I was not present, and it routed him at 
Constantinople, far from Africa. That army routed Pelagius 
in Palestine, where, in fear of his own condemnation, he con- 
demned your cause and your whole heresy fell to the ground. 
Since He, of whom David was a figure, fights against His 
adversaries in all His soldiers, He has beheaded your error with 
His sword, even by the tongue of Pelagius, a prostrate and 
fallen man. For Pelagius no, the Lord Himself, through 
Pelagius' tongue has destroyed your complaint that 'The 
reason you are said to be new heretics is that you say no evil 
defined as "sin" is in the nature, but in the will alone.' In 
other words, Pelagius, fearing his own condemnation, con- 
demned all who say infants have eternal life even if they are 
not baptized. Therefore, you who deny there is in an infant 


any evil which is washed away by baptism must tell why a 
non-baptized infant is committed to eternal death. Can you 
do anything except curse Pelagius? Suppose you curse him, 
and he replies; 'What would you have had me do? When 
Christ said, "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, 
you shall have not have life in you," 7 should I have said an 
infant who ends this life without the sacrament will have life?' 
I think you will regret his whole error. 

(5) Do not invoke the wretched argument used by all her- 
etics whom the laws of Catholic emperors restrain from perni- 
cious licence. All of them say, as you yourself have said: 'The 
other party suffers from poverty of argument. It refuses to 
consult the prudent in conducting its case, and invokes terror 
to extort blind assent from the timid.' You are new heretics, 
to be sure, but you, with all the rest, know how to use the 
old voice of nearly every heretic. You deceive neither your- 
selves nor anyone else into thinking you have against us as we 
had against the Donatists, whom we compelled through impe- 
rial commands to meet with us in conference. 8 Their fury had 
taken possession of all Africa, and, while they were terrifying 
all men, working immense destruction by forceful aggression, 
pillaging, ambush on the highways, rapine, fire, and massacre, 
they would not suffer Catholics to preach the truth against 
their error. We were able to accomplish nothing with them in 
the episcopal courts, since we did not have bishops in common 
with 'them. The people no longer remember what our elders 
had to encounter in those men nearly one hundred years ago. 
This necessity, therefore, compelled us to crush their shame- 

7 John 6.54. 

8 St. Augustine's important conflict with the Donatists centered on 
their misconception o the sacraments and the Church, which involved 
sacraments administered by an unworthy minister and the false notion 
that sinners could not be members of the Church. The Donatist 
schism itself was finally suppressed after the great Conference of 
Carthage, held in 411, and attended by 286 Catholic bishops and 279 
Donatist bishops. 


lessness and to repress their daring, at least by the transactions 
of our conference. But your case has been closed by the com- 
petent judgment of bishops common to you and us, and, so 
far as a right to a trial is concerned, we have no further 
business with you except that you shall follow peacefully 
the sentence which has been passed upon the matter. If 
you are unwilling to do so, you shall be restrained from tur- 
bulence and sedition. But you more nearly resemble the Maxi- 
mianists who, to console themselves for their insignificance, 
hoped, by being permitted to enter into discussion with us, at 
least by their recognition to seem of importance in the eyes of 
those who held them in contempt. 9 When they appeared with 
letters and challenged us, we treated them with scorn. They 
were more eager to have a name than fearful of being van- 
quished in contest; they did not hope for the glory of victory, 
but sought the reputation associated with a conference, for 
they lacked the prestige of number. If, therefore, you think 
you are victors because you have not been accorded the trial 
you desire, the Maximianists have anticipated you in this kind 
of idle talk. Yet the Catholic Church has indeed accorded you 
such judgment as was due, where your case was closed. She 
did not give them a hearing, because they had separated from 
the Donatists, not from us, as you have done. If from the 
Maximianists you see it does not follow that those not per- 
mitted to confer in a given case should be thought to rest 
secure in the truth, throw aside your vain taunts and let it 
suffice for you that the Catholic Church which has sustained 
you in maternal gentlesness has also condemned you with 
judicial severity, or, rather, out of remedial necessity. 

(6) Lest we delay in superfluous details, I shall pass over 
the tumult of insults and abuse which is found not only at 
the beginning of your work, but almost everywhere throughout 

9 A sect in schism from the Donatists themselves, supporting Maximian, 
a Donatist claimant to the see of Carthage against the Donatist 


the four volumes. I do not want earnest men to feel that 
neither of us is earnest in this disputation, that both of us are 
shallow litigants. Let us see what reason you have to offer for 
your statement that I attribute the authorship of men and of 
marriage to the Devil. 

Chapter 2 

(7 ) It is your custom to quote my words for the purpose of 
refuting them. After proposing them as though to answer 
them, you try to prove that I contradicted myself: that after 
saying in my own defense that the new heretics accuse us of 
condemning marriage and the divine work, I later withdrew 
this statement by saying that 'Man at birth is possessed in 
half-shares by God and the Devil, or, better, that the whole is 
possessed by the Devil, to the total exclusion of God as if from 
His universal possession, which is man.' Where is the acumen 
by which you have mastered the Aristotelean Categories and 
the keenness of the art of dialectics? Do you not see that an 
enemy of the truth can use your objection to me about infants, 
against both of us about evil adults? I ask you what you will 
answer about a very evil man who has not yet been regen- 
erated. You concede that he at least must be under the Devil 
unless he shall be reborn in Christ or will you also deny this? 
If you deny it, I ask whom God has freed from the power of 
darkness and transferred to the kingdom of the Son of His 
charity? If you concede it, I ask whether God has any power 
over this man who is still in the power of darkness. If you 
answer that He has not, then God has been excluded by the 
Devil from His possession. If you answer that He has, then 
God and the Devil possesses man in half-shares and such 
hatred will be stirred up against you among the ignorant as 
you, who wish to seem wise, have been trying to stir up against 


me in respect to new-born infants. Behold the great ease with 
which your first argument has been destroyed because of your 
failure tq see that men are indeed under the power of the 
Devil before they are redeemed by Christ, but in such a way 
that not only they, but even the Devil himself, cannot with- 
draw from the power of God. 

Chapter 3 

(8) You complain that our falsehoods have made baptism 
odious to the ignorant. I can scarcely say how smoothly you 
have evaded and turned this hatred away from yourselves by 
conceding that infants must be baptized, because, as you say, 
'The grace of baptism is not to be changed for special cases, 
because it dispenses its gifts relatively to the capacity of those 
who approach it. Christ, therefore, who is the redeemer of His 
own work, increases His benefits to His image in continual 
lavishness. Those whom He made good by creation, He makes 
better by renovation and adoption.' Is this your only reason 
for believing no one can stir up hatred against you concerning 
the baptism of infants? as though any of us says you deny 
infants must be baptized ; yet in your remarkable wisdom you 
say such extraordinary things as: they are baptized in the 
sacrament of the Saviour, but not saved; they are redeemed, 
but not delivered; they are bathed, but not washed; they are 
exorcized and exsufflated, but not freed from the power of the 
Devil. These are the marvels of your judgments; the un- 
dreamed of mysteries of your new dogmas; these are the para- 
doxes of the Pelagian heretics, more wonderful than those of 
the Stoic philosophers. While you are thus declaiming, are you 
afraid to hear: 'If they are saved, what was sick in them? If 
they are delivered, what held them in the bonds of slavery? 
If they are washed, what unclean thing lay hidden in them? If 


they are freed, why were they under the power of the Devil 
when they were not guilty of any wickedness of their own un- 
less it is because they contracted original sin, which you deny?' 
And you deny, not that you may declare them saved, free, 
pure, subject to no enemy for your false testimony does not 
help them in any way before the true judge but that you 
may follow your new vanity, while they remain in their old 
evil. The true judgment is not yours, but His who said: 
'Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he can- 
not enter the kingdom of God. 31 

(9) You, who are such excellent lovers of that life which 
will be eternal with Christ, think it no punishment for the 
image of God to be eternally exiled from the kingdom of 
God. If you were to say it is a small punishment, yours would 
not be the voice of a blessed lover of the kingdom, but the 
words of a wretched railler; yet, as suffices in this case, if 
you concede that a great punishment, that is, for the image 
of God not to be permitted to enter into the kingdom of God, 
is at least a small punishment, then I beg you to open what- 
ever kind of eyes you have and see by what justice such 
punishment can be inflicted of an infant whom, with your 
eyes closed, you deny is subjected to original sin. I shall not 
describe here the evils nearly all infants suffer in this transitory 
life, and how we are to explain the words: 'A heavy yoke 
is upon the children of Adam from the day of their coming 
out of their mother's womb until the day of their burial into 
the mother of all.' 2 Under the just and almighty God, these 
evils would not be visited upon His image evils that could 
not lead to practice of virtue in infants if nothing calling 
for punishment were contracted from parents. Without a 
glance you pass by these evils which befall infants; and these 
are not the evils you deny infants have, but the evils all of us 

1 John 3.5. 

2 Eccli. 40.1. 


see them suffer. You pass by, exercising your learned wit 
and skillfull tongue in praise of the nature, but that nature, 
fallen into such great and manifest misery, must necessarily 
have Christ for its saviour, deliverer, cleanser, redeemer not 
Julian, not Celestius, not Pelagius for its encomiast. You 
would not concede that that nature must be redeemed in 
infants if Celestius, who could not withstand Christian testi- 
mony, had not confessed this in the ecclesiastical transactions 
at Carthage. I ask you, therefore, how this redemption can 
be understood unless it be redemption from evil, by Him who 
redeemed Israel from all his sins? 3 When we hear of re- 
demption, we also think of price; and what is the price but 
the precious blood of the immaculate lamb, Jesus Christ? 4 
Must we seek elsewhere why this price was paid? Let the Re- 
deemer Himself answer; let the Buyer speak. He says: 'This 
is my blood which is being shed for many unto the forgive- 
ness of sins.' 5 Go on, then, go on and say that they are bap- 
tized in the sacrament of the Saviour, but not saved; they are 
redeemed, but not delivered; they are bathed, but not 
washed; they are exorcised and exsufflated, but not freed from 
the power of the Devil. Declare, likewise, that the blood is 
also shed for them for forgiveness of sins, but they are not 
cleansed by forgiveness of any sin. Wondrous are the things 
you say. New are the things you say. False are the things you 
say. We gape at wonders. We are wary of novelties. We con- 
vict falsity. 

Chapter 4 

(10) Did you not declare: 'The administration of the body 
is committed to the soul in such a way that the result of the 

S C;. Ps. 129.8. 

4 Cf. 1 Peter 1.18,19. 

5 Matt. 26.28. 


operation is shared by the two, and the soul will sense either 
the joys of the use of virtue or the punishments for insolence 
together with affliction of the flesh which it did not rule well 
in this life.' Answer, therefore, why the soul of an infant is 
tormented in this very life by afflictions of the flesh, although 
nothing deserving this torment can yet be imputed to the in- 
fant on the ground that he has not ruled his flesh well. You 
say: 'At the beginning of life, human nature is adorned with 
the gift of innocence. 5 We agree wholeheartedly, so far as per- 
sonal sins are concerned. But, since you also deny that an in- 
fant is subject to original sin, you must answer why such 
great innocence is sometimes born blind; sometimes, deaf. 
Deafness is a hindrance to faith itself, as the Apostle says: 
'Faith is from hearing.' 1 'Indeed, if nothing deserving punish- 
ment passes from parents to infants, who could bear to see 
the image of God, which is, you say, adorned with the gift 
of innocence, sometimes born feeble-minded, since this touches 
the soul itself? Or is each of you feeble-minded, so that none 
thinks feeble-mindedness an evil, although as Scripture says: 
'The mourning for the dead is seven days, but for a feeble- 
minded man and ungodly man all the days of their life.' 2 
Does anyone not know that those whom people call 'mo- 
rons' are so dull by nature that some have almost as little wit 
as cattle? Yet you do not wish to say that from the beginning, 
when the human race deserted God, it contracts the offense 
of its condemned origin, which fully deserves to suffer all these 
punishments it endures except where the inscrutable wisdom 
of the Creator spares it, mysteriously, according to His plan. 
Nor does He withold the good of His work from that univer- 
sal mass of perdition, so that out of evil faults He forms, 
though together with faults, yet formed by Him in so far as it 
is itself good, a mortal and rational nature, of which He alone 

1 Rom. 10.17. 

2 Eccli. 22.13. 


can be the Creator, and in the condemned generation He 
presents the help of regeneration to vessels of mercy. 

Chapter 5 

(11) There is no basis for your judgment that There 
cannot be offense in infants, because there can be no offense 
without will, which they no not possess.' This assertion may 
be correctly made about a personal sin, but not about the con- 
tagion by way of origin of the first sin. If there were no such 
sin, then infants, bound by no evil, would suffer nothing 
evil in body or in soul under the great power of the just God. 
Yet, this evil itself took its rise from the evil will of the first 
man; so that there is no other origin of sin but an evil will. 
If you understand the meaning of these things, you will 
simply and truthfully confess the grace of Christ in regard 
to infants, and you will not be forced to the ungodly and 
absurd assertions either that infants ought not to be baptized, 
which you may very well be driven to say at some later time, 
or that so great a sacrament is mockery in them, with the re- 
sult that they are baptized in the Saviour, but not saved; are 
redeemed by the Deliverer, but not delivered; are bathed by 
the laver of regeneration, but not washed; are exorcized and 
exsufflated, but not freed from the power of darkness; their 
price is the blood which was shed for the forgiveness of 
sins, but they are not cleansed by the forgiveness of any sins. 
You must bear this whole burden of absurdity and ungodli- 
ness because you are afraid to deny that they should be bap- 
tized, lest not only your face be dirtied by the spittle of men, 
but also your head be pulverized by the slippers of women. 

(12) We declare that the reason whoever is born must be 
under the power of the Devil until he be reborn in Christ is 
the contagion of sin from his origin. But you who deny it: 


Consider some plain facts. Consider why some infants suffer 
from a demon unless you want to deny that there are 
such infants or that they are under the power of the Devil. 
Nor will the Gospel remind you, when, perhaps for your sake, 
our Lord asked what He already knew so that the father of 
the boy might answer that his son from infancy had been 
grievously vexed by so powerful a demon that Christ's disci- 
ples could not expel it. 1 I do not say that marriage causes in- 
fants to be under the power of the Devil, as you calumni- 
ously say I do. Marriage has indeed its own order and its own 
goodness, and these could not be lost at the entrance of sin. 
But at least answer, if you can, why an infant who is very 
plainly vexed by the Devil, in such a way that some infants 
die in this vexation, is under the power of the Devil. You do 
not wish to admit that anyone undergoes punishment for the 
sins of another, lest your admission make it credible that the 
contagions of sins also pass from those who beget to those 
who are born. 

Chapter 6 

(13) As an outstanding dialectician, however, you say 
you will not suffer me to escape, but will ask me briefly and 
to the point whether I hold an action or the nature to be 
guilty in infants. You yourself answer both alternatives, say- 
ing that, if it is an action, I must show what acts infants per- 
form ; if it is the nature, I must show who made it. You speak 
as though an evil action, too, made only the nature guilty. 
In truth, the one made guilty by a man's action is man, but 
man is a nature. Therefore, just as adults become guilty by 
a sinful action so minors become guilty by contagion from 
adults. The former become guilty from what they do; the 

1 Ci. Mark 9.16-26. 


latter, from those from whom they take their origin. It is a 
good in an infant that he is man; and he would not be man 
at all if not created by Him who is supremely good. But, if 
he contracted no evil from his origin, he would never 
be born with even bodily faults. For God, who is the 
creator of souls, is also the creator of bodies, and He would 
never undeservedly inflict faults on human nature in its 
very creation. Moreover, our Lord's words 1 about the man 
born blind that this did not happen because of his own 
sin or the sin of his parents, but that the works of God were 
to be made manifest in him cannot be applied to the in- 
numerable infants born with such great variety of faults in 
soul and body. For, indeed, there are many who are never 
healed at all, but die with those same faults, at another age, or 
even in infancy; and some infants already reborn retain the 
faults with which they were born, while other evils of the 
same kind may also be added God forbid we say this is done 
without its being deserved. Let us conclude* instead, that 
their being reborn profits them in regard to the other world, 
while because of the fault of human pride, through which 
man apostatized from God, 2 the plan of this world is executed 
in a variety of human evils, in 'the heavy yoke upon the chil- 
dren of Adam, from the day of their coming out of their mo- 
ther's womb until the day of their burial into the mother of 
all.' 3 

Chapter 7 

(14) When your book tries to teach how dialecticians con- 
struct syllogisms, a question no one has asked, you displease 

1 Cf. John 9.3. 

2 Cf. Eccli. 10.11,15. 

3 Eccli. 40.1. 


earnest readers as much as you please yourself. Worse than 
that, you pretend that I say what I do not say, that I conclude 
what I do not conclude, concede what I do not concede, and 
you draw conclusions which I reject. 1 When have I ever de- 
nied that the nature of the men is praiseworthy in so far 
as they are men? When have I ever said that they are guilty 
from the mere fact of existence since they would surely 
exist, yet not be guilty, if no one had sinned? When have I 
ever said that fecundity must be censured when it pertains 
to the blessing of marriage? How could I ask you to concede 
what I myself have never asserted? 

(15) Your remark that I assume all union of bodies is evil 
is nothing less than to assert that I must also find fault with the 
union of wine and water when our drink is tempered, because 
here is unquestionably a union of bodies. If I had said that all 
union of bodies is evil, I should not have omitted this kind of 
union. I have never censured the union of the two sexes if it is 
lawfully within the boundaries of marriage. There could be no 
generation of human beings without such union, even if no 
sin had preceded it. As to the second proposition you add 
as mine, that children are born of the union of bodies: this 
I do say indeed, but the conclusion you wish to draw as mine 
is not mine. I do not say that children, coming from an evil 
action, are evil, since I do not say that the activity in which 
married persons engage for the purpose of begetting children 
is evil. As a matter of fact, I assert that it is good, because 
it makes good use of the evil of lust, and through this good 
use, human beings, a good work of God, are generated. But 
the action is not performed without evil, and this is why the 
children must be regenerated in order to be delivered from 

1 The lirst of the formal arguments Julian constructed by means of 
propositions he selected from Augustine's writing and attributed to 
Augustine, in order to show Manichaeism in his reasoning. 


(16) You proceed to construct your second syllogism; I 
say it is yours, since the first syllogism was also yours, not 
mine. 2 You say: 'The reason for the existence of the sexes is 
the union of bodies, 5 and you want me to concede this to you. 
I do concede it. You continue: 'If the union of bodies is al- 
ways evil, the condition of bodies in the different sexes is a de- 
formity. 5 If this argument were good, it would not disturb 
me, for I do not say that nuptial union that is, union for the 
purpose of procreating is evil, but even say it is good. But 
it does not follow, if the union of the two sexes is always evil 
in fact, that the condition of the bodies in the different sexes 
is a deformity. If men were subject to the evil of lust to such 
an extent that if the honesty of marriage were removed, all 
of them would have intercourse indiscriminately, in the man- 
ner of dogs, the condition of the bodies, of which God is 
the author, would not be a deformity merely because all 
sexual union happened to be evil. Even now, in evil adul- 
terous union, we see that the work of God in the condi- 
tion of the bodies is good. Yon see how logically you have 
said nothing, but that is no reflection on the art of dialectics 
from whose principles you have much departed. You use 
it to glorify yourself and shock the inexperienced in your 
desire to appear what you are not. But, even if you were an 
excellent dialectician, you would be at a loss as to how 
these matters should be discussed; as matters stand, you 
are both inept and unskilled. If you were a good dialecti- 
cian, you would still be an inept artist. Yet you advance 
to the combat as though you were laden with the darts of 
dialectics, and you hurl these leaden daggers, saying: 'If 
intercourse is always evil, the condition of bodies in the 
different sexes is a deformity.' When you add that I cannot 
deny this, you do not see that what you have called a 

2 The second of the syllogisms by Julian is the first part of a reductio 
ad absurdum which is completed by the third syllogism below. 


necessary argument is not consequent. What is it that I 
cannot deny, unthinking man? What am I unable to deny? 
It is this, which you cannot deny if you grasp it even so 
tardily: that, if the intercourse of adulterers is evil, it is 
not therefore true that the condition of those born of it 
is a deformity. Evil union is the work of the men operating 
evilly from their good members. The condition of the new- 
born is the work of God operating well from evil men. If 
you say that, even when there is adultery, the union is 
good in itself, since it is natural, but adulterers use it 
evilly, why will you not acknowledge that in the same way 
lust can be evil, yet the married may nevertheless use it 
well for the purpose of begetting children? Will you assert 
there can be evil use of good, but there cannot be good use 
of evil? We see how well the Apostle used Satan himself, 
when he delivered a man over to him for the destruction 
of the flesh, that his spirit might be saved in the day of 
the Lord, and when he delivered others up to him that 
they might learn not to blaspheme. 3 

Chapter 8 

(17) How did you want us to understand your words: 
'God cannot be the author of an evil'? God himself spoke 
better than you when he said through the Prophet that he 
creates evils. 1 Regardless of the meaning of your words, 
how can they apply to me, when I do not concede the 
proposition with which you connect them, and I have shown 
it does not follow that the condition of bodies is a deformity, 
even if granted that every union of bodies, by which I 
mean union of the two sexes, were evil? Does it follow that 

3 Cf. 1 Cor. 5.5. 
1 Cf. Isa. 45.7. 


He is not the author of the condition of bodies, which I 
have by no means conceded to be evil, since none of my 
earlier concessions compelled me to say this? Your inference 
that 'All bodies must then be ascribed to an evil author' 
is vain and foolish. It is truer to conclude that if not even 
the evil union of adulterers makes the condition of bodies 
evil, or, if the union of the two sexes is good even in adultery 
where evil men use it evilly, then, since it is much more 
consequent that the condition of bodies cannot be evil, it 
is right to attribute the authorship of bodies to God. You 
see there is no abyss that would cause me in fear to return 
to the way you would have me follow. You must tell me 
what this way is, and give your reason. 

Chapter 9 

(18) You say: 'The good God, through whom all things 
were made, formed the members of our body. 5 This is 
most true. You continue by saying: 'But he who made 
the bodies also distinguished the sexes. That which he in- 
tended to join in action he distinguished in kind, and he 
made the dissimilarity of the members the cause of the union.' 
I also concede this. You then infer: 'The union of bodies 
giving the origination of bodies is from God.' Who denies 
it? You say that, when I have unwillingly conceded this 
point, 'It follows that the fruits of this multitude of goods 
bodies, sexes, and union cannot be bad.' This is also true, 
for the fruit of these goods is man, and, in so far as he 
is man, he is something good. The evil that is in him, from 
which he must be healed through the Saviour, and delivered 
through the Redeemer, and washed through the laver, and 
rescued through exorcism, and absolved through the blood 
which was shed for the forgiveness of sins, is not the fruit 
of bodies, sexes, and union, but of the old and original sin. 


Now, if I should declare about the offspring of adulterers: 
'There could be no good fruit of so many evils; of lust, ugli- 
ness, and crime,' it would be correct for you to answer that 
man born of adulterers is not the fruit of lust, ugliness, 
and crime, whose author is the Devil, but of bodies, sexes, 
and union, and these are goods whose author is God. In 
the same way I say to you in highest truth that the evil with 
which a man is born is not the fruit of bodies, sexes, and 
union, for these are goods whose author is God; it is the 
fruit of the first prevarication, whose author is the Devil. 

(19) God forbid we should say, as you calumniate us: 
'Men are made by God for the purpose of being subject 
by legitimate right to the Devil.' Although it would be more 
the work of the divine than the diabolic power to make the 
unclean generation subject to the unclean prince unless it 
be cleansed by regeneration, nevertheless God did not make 
men so the Devil might in some way have his own house- 
hold. God made man by the goodness through which He 
gives to all natures the gift of existence and through which 
He gives subsistence to the Devil himself. If God withdrew 
His goodness from things, they would forthwith be nothing 
at all. Consider, for example, that God does not create 
animals in the herds and flocks of ungodly men so that 
they may be immolated to demons, although He knows those 
men will immolate them to demons; in like manner, when 
He sees generation subject to sin, He does not withhold His 
creative goodness from it, all in harmony with the very 
beautiful order in which He ordered the ages. 

Chapter 10 

(20) After this argument, in which you deceive yourself 
and think you have scored an important point, you inject 


your customary abuse, saying: 'He will probably assert we 
should use the testimony of Scripture, not syllogisms, to prove 
that offspring born of the union of bodies must be ascribed 
to the divine work'; as though anyone denying this truth 
could be a Christian. As though it were part of our con- 
troversy, you try through testimonies of Scripture to show 
something we most heartily profess and most gladly proclaim, 
and you labor vainly, not to answer us, but to fill out your 
books. Your statement, however, that 'Expressing his faith 
in the works, the Prophet nearly endangered his modesty 
when he said: "They shall be two in one flesh," J1 I ought 
to give you good warning that there would have been noth- 
ing shameful in the works of God if there had not first been 
a reason why human nature had to be ashamed of the 
deformity it had deserved. 

Chapter 11 

(21) You say, praising lust: 'It was restored to Abraham 
and Sara by the gift of God when they were stricken with 
old age and their bodies were dead.' 1 With malicious voice 
you proclaim that if I were able, I should declare what I 
see God confer sometimes for a gift to be the work of the 
Devil. Now, if God resuscitated a lame man, and restored 
to life one no longer able to limp because dead, it might 
seem that lameness itself was bestowed as a gift. In the 
same way, if the bodily vigor of their youth was restored, 
it was certainly restored in accordance with the condition 
of the body of this death, for it was not fitting to restore 
the state in which Adam was before sin, so that they might 

1 Gen. 2.24. 

Cf. Rom. 4.19. 


be able to procreate children without the law in the members 
which wars against the law of the mind. 

(22) Yet, we should also understand that Abraham's 
body was said to be dead because he was not able to beget 
children of a female able to conceive. Advancing age is 
said to bring it about that an old man may be able to beget 
of an adolescent female when he is no longer able to do 
so of an older woman, though she may at that time be 
able to conceive of a younger man. But those living as long 
as human beings lived at that time doubtless became so 
decrepit that eventually they could not be roused to union 
at all, if this can happen in a healthy man because of his 
age. In regard to this matter we have heard a report of a man 
eighty-four years of age who, after living religiously and 
in continence with a religious wife for twenty-five years, 
suddenly bought himself a Lyristria 2 to satisfy his lust. 
Considering t| short life span of men of this era, he was 
of more advanced age than Abraham was at the age of a 
hundred, when he had another seventy years to live. Thus, 
it is more prudent to hold that God gave His servants the 
fecundity they lacked. Indeed, two reasons are given for 
Sara's inability to conceive and the deadness of her womb. 
The first was the barrenness present from her youth. The 
other was her age not that she was ninety years old, but 
because it had ceased to be with her after the manner of 
women; for it is agreed that, if the internal menstrual flow 
has ceased because of age, women are no longer able to 
conceive, even if they were fruitful before menstruation 
ceased. Scripture were unwilling to pass this fact by in 
silence, wishing to increase the glory of the miracle God was 
to work in their offspring. But when Sara gave her hand- 
maid to her husband in the hope of receiving offspring from 
the servant because she could not herself give birth she was 
motivated by her own barrenness, not by her age. For Scrip- 

2 A female player of the lyre. 


ture says : 'But Sara, the wife of Abraham, had brought forth 
no children. 5 Her own words to her husband are, 'Behold, 
God has closed my womb so that I do not bear children.' 
If, however, we consider their ages at that time, we see that 
they would have been decrepit according to the present life- 
span. Abraham was about eighty-five years old, and Sara was 
about seventy-five, since it is written: Abraham was four- 
score and six years old when Agar brought him forth Ish- 
mael.' 3 Therefore, it was about a year earlier when he took 
the handmaid and Ishmael was conceived. Do any spouses of 
our era generate at this age unless a miracle be divinely 
wrought? Yet those two would then have been able to beget if 
Sara had not been barren, since Abraham was able to beget of 
Agar, and Sara had not yet reached the age when men- 
struation would cease. Therefore, Abraham's body was dead 
in that he could not beget of Sara, even if she had been 
fecund, yet so that she was approaching the age when the men- 
strual flow would cease; for medical authors state that women 
who no longer have this flowing cannot conceive. If this 
were false, Scripture would not have taken care to write: 'It 
had ceased to be with Sara after the manner of women,' when 
it had already said: 'Abraham and Sara were both old.' 4 
Considering the measure of that era, then, when men lived 
a far longer time than now, we see that Abraham and Sara 
were no longer able to generate when Abraham was one 
hundred and Sara was ninety, even if she had not been barren 
and they had come together the year before, when, perhaps, 
she might still have been able to conceive if her husband had 
been young. But, at the time in question, she could not have 
conceived because Abraham's body was so dead with age 
that a female of Sara's age could not have conceived from 
it, although he himself could have begotten of an adolescent 
female, as later, of Cetura, 5 although here, too, it could be 

5 Gen. 16.1,2,16. 

4 Gen. 18.11. 

5 Ct. Gen. 25.15. 


said that he retained the gift of fecundity he received in order 
that Isaac be born. By the measure of a lifetime in this era, 
when human beings live a far shorter length of time, it is 
said they are able to generate within the hundred years of 
the two spouses. But if their combined years exceed one 
hundred, it is asserted that they cannot procreate, even if the 
woman is fruitful, and, provided she menstruates, able to 
procreate from a young man ; thus it has also been established 
by the law that no one shall have the jus liberorum except 
when the combined age of the two spouses is greater than 
one hundred. 6 

(23) Therefore, a miracle of God was wrought in order 
that Isaac be conceived. It did not consist in the restored 
lust of his parents, but in the fecundity which was given 
them; for lust could have existed even in those years, but 
fecundity could not have existed with so many causes to 
impede it. As we have already noted, however, lust would 
also have revived in the dead senile members when these 
were brought back to life, as it were, by the gift of God. But 
this lust would certainly have followed the condition of the 
corruptible flesh, so that in the body of this death would be 
the lust which could not have existed in the body of that life 
in paradise, before sin. In accordance with the penal con- 
dition of this body, God does not now bestow fecundity 
according to the happy state in which, since it was fitting 
that there be peace and not war in the nature of man before 
sin, there was nothing in the flesh which might lust against 
the spirit, and which would have to be restrained by the 

6 The jus liberorum named here seems to have been a legal right 
possessed by childless spouses only after reaching a certain age, a 
right by which the spouse might receive the \n^le amount of the 
testament made in his or her favor by the other spouse, without 
the usual restrictions and penalities arising from the absence of 
children. Records of such laws are extant, although they seem to 
make the age limit for men 60 years, for women, 50. 
(Cf. Ulpian, Fragm. tit. 16; Isidore, Orig., 5.) 


spirit's lusting against it. Here your idle effort rests on the 
supposition that we could have said Isaac was begotten with- 
out the concupiscence of the flesh, or without the seed of 
a man. We do not say this and we shall not comment further 
on the contemptible conclusions you draw. 

Chapter 12 

(24) Thinking you have discovered another telling point, 
you say: 'If the Devil created men, they would not be evil 
by any guilt of their own, and, therefore, they would no 
longer be evil, for no one can be other than what he is by 
birth, and it is not just to demand more of him than he can 
accomplish/ We ourselves often say the same in opposition to 
the Manichaeans, who do not say the evil nature their fables 
describe is actually a vitiated good nature, but for them it 
is a nature that is evil without beginning and unchangeably. 
According to the Catholic faith, however, human nature was 
made good, but was vitiated by sin and deservedly condemned, 
It is neither remarkable nor unjust that the condemned root 
brings forth the condemned, unless they be tended now as 
then by the liberating mercy of their Creator; the mercy you 
begrudge when you say infants have no evil from which they 
must be delivered. 

(25) But, surely, you who oppress wretched infancy by 
a false defense of it and attack it with pernicious praise must 
tell why, if they are not baptized, you will not admit into the 
kingdom of God the vast number of images of God in infants 
who deserve no evil. Do they fail themselves by not per- 
forming what they are wholly unable to perform, so that they 
must be deprived of the kingdom and punished by the most 
grievous of exiles? Where would you place them, for they do 
not have life, because they did not eat the flesh and drink 


the blood of the Son of Man? 1 As I have already said, Pela- 
gius would have left the ecclesiastical court a condemned 
man, if he had not condemned those who say that 'Infants 
have eternal life even if they are not baptized.' I ask you 
by what justice must an image of God that has in no way 
transgressed the law of the God be estranged from the king- 
dom of God, from the life of God? Do you not hear how the 
Apostle detests certain men, who, he says, are 'estranged from 
the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because 
of the blindness of their heart'? 2 Is a non-baptized infant 
bound by this sentence or not? If you say he is not bound, 
they you will be vanquished and punished by the evangelical 
truth and by the testimony of Pelagius himself, for where is 
the life of God except in the kingdom of God, into which 
none but those born again of water and the Spirit can enter? 3 
But, if you assert that he is bound, you acknowledge the pun- 
ishment. Then you must acknowledge the guilt. You confess 
the torment confess, then, that it is deserved. You will find 
no answer in your teaching. Finally, if there is any Christian 
sense in you, acknowledge the progeny of death and condem- 
nation in infants also, which is to be punished with due justice 
and to be delivered gratuitously by the grace of God. The 
mercy of God can be praised in the redemption of infants, but 
the truth of God cannot be accused in their perdition, because 
all the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth. 4 

Chapter 13 
(26) You divide, you define, you give a kind of clinical 

1 Cf. John 6.54. 

2 Eph. 4.18. 

3 Cf. John 3.5. 

4 Cf. Ps. 24.10. 


dissertation on the genus, the species, the mode, and the 
excess of concupiscence, asserting that 'Its genus is in the 
vital fire ; its species is in the genital action ; its mode is in the 
conjugal act; its excess is in the intemperance of fornication.' 
Yet, after all this supposedly subtle and truly prolix dispu- 
tation, when I ask you briefly and openly why this vital fire 
plants the root of warfare in man, so that his flesh lusts 
against his spirit, and it becomes necessary for his spirit to 
lust against his flesh 1 why he who wills to consent with the 
vital fire receives a mortal wound I think the black ink in 
your book must turn red with blushing. Behold the vital fire 
which not only does not obey at the decision of soul, which 
is the true life of the flesh, but for the most part rises up against 
the soul's decision in disorderly and ugly movements, so that, 
unless the spirit lusts against it, this vital fire destroys our 
good life. 

(27) After a long discussion you say, as though in con- 
clusion: Therefore, it is correct to state that the origin of 
concuspicence is in the vital fire; it follows that carnal con- 
cupiscence must be attributed to the fire through which 
carnal life is compounded.' You speak as though you were 
able to prove, or were insolent enough to suspect, that in the 
first creation of man, before the merited condemnation fol- 
lowed his guilt, such carnal concupiscence either existed in 
paradise or produced its base warfare against the spirit by 
means of the disorderly activity of which we are now aware. 
You say : The guilt of such appetite is not in its genus or its 
species or its mode, but in its excess, because the genus and 
species are the work of its Maker, and its mode pertains to 
honest decision, but its excess comes from fault of the will.' 
How elegantly your empty words sound, but only for him 
who does not consider what they say. If the mode of this 

1 Cf. Gal. 5.17. 


appetite pertains to honest decision, we ask whether any 
married man chooses that this appetite be aroused except 
when needed? Yet, what he wishes he cannot accomplish. 
What honest celibate chooses that this appetite ever be 
aroused? Yet, what he wishes he cannot accomplish. Thus a 
man cries out: 'To wish is within my power, but I do not 
find the strength to accomplish what is good.' 2 In the very 
movement of this appetite, then, it has no mode answering to 
the decision of the will, while in the effect it is not itself mod- 
erate, but the honest spirit must impose a mode on it, by 
watchful combat. Evil men, why do you praise it and do not 
cry out to God: 'Deliver us from evil'? 3 

Chapter 14 

(28) What do you gain by saying that 'Lust is diminished 
by debility,' as though it were not wholly extinguished by 
death, when no contest is required, but the vanquished must 
now pay the penalty? This is the bitter thing; this is where 
you do not understand the progeny of the death which still 
does battle, for that unhealthy activity exists when we are 
healthy. You say: c ln the married it is exercised honestly; 
in the chaste it is restrained by virtue.' Is this your experience 
of it? Is, then, this evil (your good) not restrained by the 
married? Indeed, since it is very pleasant, let the married 
effusively and impetuously seek each other whenever it titil- 
lates; let not this appetite be denied or put off until the proper 
time for such commerce ; let the union of bodies be legitimate 
whenever this, your natural good, spontaneously acts. If you 
led this kind of married life, rely no more on your own 

2 Rom. 7.18. 

3 Matt. 6.13. 


experience, but choose instead to learn from others how it 
should be led or taught, 1 If you did not restrain even adul- 
terous desires, did you not at least sense they ought to be 
restrained? Since conjugal modesty itself also restrains this 
pest, because of the boundless sloughs of lust and the damnable 
craving even in marriage, lest something be committed beyond 
the natural use of the spouse, why did you say: 'In the 
married it is exercised honestly,' as though to say this appetite 
were always honest in a spouse, and there were nothing to 
concede, at least by way of pardon, as the Apostle says? 2 
How much better to say: 'In the moderateness of the married 
it is exercised honestly. 3 Were you afraid this also might lead 
to recognition of the evil which the married themselves re- 
strain by careful moderation? Since you are now living in 
celibacy, recognize the bad horse in the chariot described by 
Ambrose, 3 and do not praise in heart or mouth that which 
you are obliged to restrain by virtue. You say: The fourth, 
which is the excess of that pleasure, is practiced by the las- 
civious; and because this is done in insolence, not from nature, 
it is condemned by law/ From whose insolence, I ask, does it 
arise that of lasciviousness or of concupiscence? Lest you 
offend the protege you have taken to yourself, you will say it is 
lasciviousness only when there is consent to concupiscence. But 
is not a thing evil if to consent to it means commission of sin? 
This evil truly exists in the flesh lusting against the spirit, 
even though it does not exist in a spirit not consenting and 
lusting back against it. Cry out, then, 'Deliver us from evil,' 
and do not add to this evil the evil of false praise. 

1 It is known that Julian married in his youth, but after the death 
of his wife lived in continence. 

2 Cf. 1 Cor. 7.6. 

3 See above 25.12. 


Chapter 15 

( 29 ) As a mean between lasciviousness and celibacy you ex- 
pressly name conjugal chastity, which, you say, 'is indignant 
at the unlawful acts of the one extreme, and marvels at the 
other's despising even the lawful. Its domain lies on the 
farthest boundary, whence it execrates the barbarousness of 
those who go beyond the limit, and venerates the striking 
brilliance of those above itself; it modestly soothes the ardent 
and praises those who do not need this remedy.' I take great 
pleasure in this very eloquently phrased truth, but I beg you 
to see that, just as you say, very well and truly, the reason 
conjugal modesty praises celibates is that they do not need 
the remedy it sees itself to have needed, as the Apostle says : 
'But if they do not have self-control, let them marry.' 1 Why 
do you acknowledge a necessary remedy for concupiscence, 
yet contradict me when I say concupiscence is a disease? If 
you acknowledge the remedy, acknowledge the disease. If 
you deny the disease, deny the remedy. I ask you at last to 
yield to the truth which speaks to you even through your 
own mouth. No one provides a remedy for health. 

Chapter 16 

(30) You say truly: 'On close examination, we see that 
marriage cannot -be pleasing if it is praiseworthy only by com- 
parison with evil.' This is true. Marriage is by all means 
good in its own kind, but the reason it is good is that it keeps 
the faith of the marriage bed; that it unites the two sexes 
for the purpose of begetting offspring; and that it shrinks 

1 1 Cor. 7.9. 


from the impiety of separation. 1 These are the good prop- 
erties of marriage, by which marriage itself is a good, and, 
as we have often said, such marriage could have existed even 
if no one had sinned. After sin, however, and not happily 
but from necessity, a combat came to marriage, so that 
marriage by means of its own good must now war against 
the evil of concupiscence, not permitting it to do anything 
unlawful, though concupiscence itself, acting now slackly, 
now with great violence, never ceases to urge marriage to 
the unlawful, even when marriage makes good use of the evil 
of concupiscence in the propagation of offspring. Who can 
deny this is an evil except one unwilling to hear the Apostle's 
warning: 'But this I say by way of concession, not by way 
of commandment,' 2 when the married are overcome by desire, 
not for offspring, but to satisfy lust for carnal pleasure? This 
may not be praised, but when marriage intercedes and pleads, 
it may be forgiven in comparison with what is worse. 3 

Chapter 17 

(31) Next, I know not why, you return to the example 
of Abraham and Sara, which I think I have already fully 
answered. You forgot something and wanted to add it when 

1 A description of the three elements in which Augustine places the 
goodness of marriage, and to which Pius XI refers throughout his 
1930 Encyclical, Casti Connubii. 

2 1 Cor. 7.6. 

3 Augustine held that the only worthy motive for entering into 
Christian marriage is the remedy it provides against incontinence by 
permitting the marriage act, though only for the purpose for which 
marriage was instituted. In this passage he seems to state that spouses 
may without mortal sin perform the act of marriage even when 
they do not positively intend to beget children, provided they do 
nothing directly to impede conception. (For information about 
Augustine's doctrine about the motive for marrying, which is not 
the same thing as the purpose of marriage itself, see De bono con- 
jugali, and others of his writings dealing specifically with marriage.) 


you remembered it. This is human and it happens often, so let 
us hear what it was. You say : ' A prophecy is now being ful- 
filled in the region of Africa : neither the spouse nor the chas- 
tity of the beautiful and holy woman, who was a figure of the 
Church, was safe, but by divine means she was there pre- 
served unharmed.' I shall not spend time over all these 
words of yours. You address him to whom you are writing, 
and say: 'We must pray God, most blessed brother Turbanus, 
fellow priest, that the powers remain constant even in this 
storm, and that He delay not to preserve the Catholic Church, 
the mature, the fruitful, the chaste and comely bride of His 
Son, from abduction into Africa or from Africa by Mani- 
chaean brigands.' This is indeed our own prayer against 
Manichaeans and Donatists and other heretics, and against 
all enemies of the Christian and Catholic name who may be 
found in Africa. Are we, then, brigands come out of Africa 
against you, because against you, a pest come to us from 
overseas, and a pest to be conquered by Christ the Saviour, 
we oppose one martyr from here, Cyprian, through whom 
we prove we are defending the ancient Catholic faith against 
the vain and profane novelty of your error? Oh, the wick- 
edness here! Did the Church of God located in Africa need 
your prayers when most blessed Cyprian proclaimed the 
truths you are attacking? Were they lacking when he said: 
'Mueh more ought no one to forbid baptism to a new-born 
infant who has committed no sin except that, since he has 
been born carnally according to Adam, he has contracted 
the contagion of the ancient death in his first birth, so that 
not his own, but another's, sins are remitted for him.' 1 When 
Cyprian learned and taught these things, did he need the 
help of your prayers to preserve Sara unharmed in the region 
of Africa, and to deliver the beauty of the Church from 
abduction by the Manichaeans, who by your reasoning de- 

1 Epist. 64, ad Fidum. 


ccivcd Cyprian himself before the name of Manichaeus was 
heard from Roman soil? See what monstrous and frenzied 
charges you make against the very ancient Catholic faith in 
your inability to find anything else to say. 

(32) No matter how you shift your ground, O Pelagian 
heresy, devising new attacks against the ramparts of the 
very ancient truth, and contriving new devices, 'A Punic 
debater,' as your defender insultingly names me/ a Punic 
debater, I say, not I, but Punic Cyprian, 'slays you jvith this 
blow, and requires punishment from the polluted clogma.' 2 
What if I should name as many bishops from Africa as I 
have named from the other parts of world? What if there 
were many Africans among these very bishops? Of the bishops 
whose consensus from the East and from the West confounds 
you, one is from Africa, and the rest from elsewhere, yet 
you have become so blind in obstinacy you cannot see it is 
you yourselves who wish to corrupt the ancient beauty of the 
Church; that is, the ancient faith which resembles the 
chastity of the old and very beautiful Sara. For, if Mani- 
chaeans have ravished the Church through holy bishops of 
God, and through the memorable doctors Irenaeus, Cyprian, 
Reticius, Olympius, Hilary, Ambrose, Gregory, Basil, John, 
Innocent, and Jerome, then tell me, Julian, who gave birth 
to you? Was she a chaste woman or a harlot who through 
the womb of spiritual grace brought you into the light you 
have deserted? Is it to defend the Pelagian dogma that you 
defame the womb of the bride of Christ, who is your mother, 
by a wicked impulse not of error, but of madness? For this 
deformed novelty with its constant lies against the ancient 
beauty of Sara charges with the blasphemy of Manichaeism 
the consensus of so many glorious Catholic bishops, in the 

2 An allusion to Virgil, Aeneas 12.946-947. 


face of overpowering evidence of their teachings. Some of 
these never heard the name of Manichaeus. 3 

(33) But from this digression, to which the impulse, not 
of grief but of shamelessness, carried you away, you say you 
will return to the ravings you had first intended, giving testi- 
mony from the Apostle 4 and trying to confirm what you said 
earlier about the dead members of Abraham and Sara. I shall 
be content with my previous answer. What Christian does not 
know that 'He who made the first man from dust makes all 
men from seed 5 ? But He makes them from seed already vi- 
tiated and condemned, which in part remains in torment, 
through truth; and in part is delivered from evil, through 
mercy. It is not true, then, as you think and conclude, that 
'The assertion of natural sin has been choked' in your 
nets. Your defense in vain words, expressing a new-found 
dogma, does not cleanse the nature debased by the will of the 
first transgressor. This is accomplished by the grace of God 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Chapter 18 

(34) This is why I do not hold what you calumniously 
attribute to me, namely, that the married generate without 
the heat of bodies, and I do not say God did not make man, 
or God made man by means of the Devil, or the Devil made 
man, because not even the parents are able to make man; 
God makes man from the parents. The Devil cannot with- 
draw himself from God's power; much less, then, is he able 
to withdraw human nature, which he makes subject to himself 

3 In Opus imperfectum contra Julianum, Augustine says that Manes, 
or Mani, the founder of the sect of the Manichaeans, used this form 
of the name when he associated with those who spoke Latin. 

4 Rom. 4.19. 


only through the penalty deserved by sin, after God's con- 
demnation. Since these things are so, you, not I, convict 
yourself, not of worshiping the Devil as you say I do, but of 
assisting the Devil, no matter how severely you accuse him. 
It is you who contend by your own unsound doctrine that 
infants are sound, and that it is not necessary for all infants to 
be healed through Christ for the evil through which they are 
under the power of the Devil. According to the sound faith, 
however, I say that Isaac was also formed from this same 
pleasure of concupiscence from which come all other men, 
excepting only Him through whom we are delivered from 
evil. I do not deny that Divine Providence reaches from 
end to end mightily, and orders all things sweetly, and no 
defiled thing comes into her. 1 Therefore, Providence works 
what it wishes, even from the unclean and contaminated, 
while it remains itself clean and uncontaminated. You need 
not enter into minute details to prove to me what I concede. 
But answer, if you can, why Isaac's soul would have perished 
from his people if he had not been circumcised on the eighth 
day by the sign of the baptism of Christ. 2 Explain, if you can, 
the reason why he would have suffered so great a punishment 
if not delivered by the sacrament. You cannot deny that God 
gave life to the dead womb of Sara for the reception of seed, 
and to the dead body of Abraham for generation in the way 
in which young men generate, in order that offspring might 
be born of the old age of the parents. But why did Isaac, 
born innocent as to personal sins, who would have born in- 
nocent in this respect even if born of adulterers, deserve that 
his soul should perish from his people if he were not circum- 
cised? Do not wander off through a multitude of obscurities, 
perplexities, and superfluities; answer this one plain, simple 
and necessary question. 

1 Wisd. 8.1; 7.25. 

2 Gen. 17.14. 


(35) You introduce the testimony of the Apostle, not for 
the purpose for which he wrote it, but for your arbitrary use. 
Let this be as it may; we merely note that you insert the 
passage where he says : 'And how is God to judge the world? 
For if through my life the truth of God has abounded 
unto his glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? 53 You 
say: 'By these words the Apostle shows that if God did not 
observe the proper manner of commanding, He would lose 
the right of judging. 5 You conclude: 'The Apostle says this 
in order to restrain those asserting that the sins of mortals 
advance the glory of God, and that the reason God com- 
manded the impossible was to prepare materials for His 
mercy. 5 You continue: 'The Apostle shows, then, that the 
reason men are rightly judged is that they have failed to fulfil 
possible commandments. It would be unjust to judge them 
as failing to carry out impossible commands.' What can you 
say about Isaac, who received no commandment, possible or 
impossible, yet who would have been punished by the loss of 
his own soul if he had not been circumcised on the eighth 
day? Will not see even now that the commandment given 
in paradise at the beginning was possible and easy of ful- 
filment; but after it was despised and violated, all, from one 
man, have that sin in common as in the mass of their origin; 
thence came 'the heavy yoke upon the children of Adam from 
the day of their coming out of their mother's womb until 
the day of their burial into the mother of all 5 ? 4 Since no one 
from that generation condemned in Adam is delivered unless 
he be regenerated in Christ, Isaac would have perished if he 
had not received the sign of this regeneration, and would 
have perished deservedly, as one departing without the sign 
of regeneration, from this life into which he entered con- 
demned, through the condemned generation. If this is not 

3 Rom. 3.6,7. 

4 Eccli. 40.1. 


the reason, you must give us another. God is good; God is 
just. He can deliver some men not meriting good, because 
He is good. He cannot condemn any man not deserving evil, 
because He is just. The eight-day-old infant had nothing de- 
serving of evil from personal sins. Why would he have been 
condemned if not circumcised, unless he contracted sin from 
his origin? 

Chapter 19 

(36) Proceed on your merry way of invention, but re- 
member you are giving fiction, not Scripture. When you 
say: 'We see that perfect ignorance may be called justice, 
when God says to Abimelech who, not knowing Sara was 
the wife of another, intended to lie with her: "And I know 
that thou didst it with a sincere heart." 1 It follows that the 
state of the new-born is not damaged by the will of those 
who generate them, because even if the will were evil, the 
new-born could have no knowledge of it.' Why do you not 
then call them just, if perfect ignorance is to be called justice? 
Nothing is more perfect than the ignorance of infants; hence, 
let nothing be called more just. Where is the proposition you 
once thought should be asserted: 'Infants are born neither just 
nor unjust; these qualities will appear later in their actions; 
the only endowment of infancy is innocence'? Do not your 
words say: 'Man is indeed born replete with innocence, but 
only with capacity for virtue, and he will deserve praise or 
blame according to his later intentions'? Are you going to 
assert that justice is not virtue? If an infant has the fullness 
of ignorance, which you say is justice, how can you say he 
lacks the fullness of virtue and has only the capacity for 
virtue, unless you deny that justice is a virtue? Should not 
this absurdity arouse you to regret your statement? The words 

1 Gen. 20.6. 


of the Lord are wakeful, but you are asleep. He did not say 
that He knew the king had a just heart, since it is written: 
'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,' 2 but 
you proposed Abimelech as an example of a sinner. God 
says: I know that thou didst this with a sincere heart'; God 
did not refer to everything, nor to any other thing but this 
in which Abimelech was not conscious of adultery. 

(37) I marvel that, while you are trying to accomplish 
something you cannot accomplish by your example, you fail 
to see what you do not want to hear. You are trying to make 
men believe that desire was returned to the women at Abra- 
ham's prayer, because it it written: Tor the Lord had closed 
up every womb of the house of Abimelech, on account of 
Sara, Abraham's wife.' 3 You want us to understand the closing 
to mean that lust was taken from the women when God 
became angry, although the words themselves more plainly 
insinuate that the womb was closed by a disorder of some 
kind, so that a woman about to be impregnated, or ready 
to give birth, was not able to do so. You who will not admit 
that by divine judgment someone can be punished for sins 
not personal but another's do not see how it could come to 
pass that Abimelech sinned, although not with an adul- 
terous heart, yet God avenged his sin, no matter how venial, 
on the women of his household. You see the contagion of 
sin pass from the man to the women with whom he had 
intercourse or whom he ruled, yet you do not want sin to 
pass to the offspring from the very parents from whose seeds 
the offspring is propagated. Consider the inscrutable depth 
of the judgments of the wisdom and the knowledge of God, 4 
and then cease to babble about the secrets of original sin. 

2 Matt. 5.8. 

3 Gen. 20.18. 

4 Cf. Rom. 11.33. 


Chapter 20 

(38) You begin next to discuss the excess of concupsicence, 
which you say is reprehensible, as though in its moderation, 
when a married man uses it well, the horse itself which is evil 
should be praised and not the driver. What benefit do 
you derive from the testimonies from Scripture where it 
is shown how God either forbids or condemns the excess of 
lust? Look rather at this: that the concupiscence of the flesh, 
unless it be restrained, can effect all those things that horrify 
us in the most vicious crimes having to do with the repro- 
ductive members; and these effects it produces by means 
of those very movements which it causes, to our sorrow, even 
in sleep, and even in the bodies of chaste men. 

(39) You ask: Tor what reason would God have sought 
out the just men in Sodom, if He had made them such by 
nature?' 4 You speak as though we said the concupiscence 
of the flesh cannot be restrained by the more excellent nature 
of the mind. We answer that concupiscence is such an evil 
that it must be vanquished in actual combat until, like a 
wound in the body, it shall be healed by a perfect cure. 

(40) If you believe, as you say, that The Apostle has 
praised lust, because he said that the use of the woman is 
natural, where he says: "Some, abandoning the natural use 
of woman, have burned in their lusts one towards another," 52 
you will be obliged to praise every use of woman. Thus, you 
will have to praise all perverse acts committed with woman, 
because there, too, the use is certainly natural, although it 
must be condemned because it is not lawful; this is why 
illegitimate children thus born are called natural children. 
The Apostle is not here praising the concupiscence of the 

1 Gen. 18.26. 

2 Rom. 1.27. 


flesh. He merely calls the use from which human nature comes 
into being by birth the natural use. 

(41) You say: 'The Sodomites also sinned in the creature 
of bread and wine,' and thus you want us to understand that 
lust is good, although it is sinful to use it evilly. You do not 
understand what you are saying, so that you do not see that 
the creature of bread and wine does not lust against the spirit. 
This creature enters the body from outside, and it is coveted 
unsoundly by those who use it evilly. The reason it should 
be used sparingly and with restraint is that the concupiscence 
which is an evil within us and part of us may not rise up 
more vehemently and invincibly against us when the cor- 
ruptible body with greater mass exerts heavier pressure on 
the soul. This evil, which is shown to be evil not only by 
him who fights against it, but also by him whom it subjugates, 
is the evil which a parent uses well when he begets a child in 
chastity, and which God uses well when in His providence 
He creates a man. 

Chapter 21 

(42) I beg you to consider now; I say now, so that whole- 
some truth may win you over. Put aside all craving for victory 
and consider whether you ought not to accept our opinion 
rather than yours. It is well, you say, for you briefly to remind 
us what you have accomplished in your entire volume, so 
that the reader will retain it. This brief admonition, in 
your own words, is: 'He who holds to the mode of natural 
concupiscence uses a good well. He who does not hold to 
the mode uses a good evilly. But he who in love of holy 
virginity also despises the mode itself does better in not making 
use of a good, for, indeed, relying on his own health and 
strength, he has despised the remedies so that he may engage 


in glorious combats.' I answer your words thus: He who 
holds to the mode of carnal concupiscence uses an evil well. 
He who does not hold to the mode uses an evil evilly. But 
he who in his love of holy virginity despises also the mode 
itself does better in not making use of an evil, for, indeed, 
relying on the divine assistance and gift, he has despised the 
least of the remedies so that he may engage in glorious com- 
bats. The whole point between us in this controversy is 
whether the thing of which good use is made is good or evil. 
In this controversy I do not want you to reject the out- 
standing judges who, as I have shown above, are learned 
in sound doctrine, and have impartially passed sentence on 
this matter. But, since you will undoubtedly accuse or, to 
speak more mildly, censure them if you are not put right, I 
shall make you yourself the judge between our opinions, and 
from your own book, and with this very passage. You say: 
'Holy virginity, relying on its own health and strength, has 
despised the remedies so that it may engage in glorious com- 
bats.' I ask you to name the remedies it has despised. You will 
answer: Marriage. I ask the disease for which the remedies 
are necessary. The word 'remedy' is derived from mede-ing 
[medendo], that is, medicating. Thus both you and I see 
that there is a remedial aspect of marriage. Why do you 
praise the disease of lust, when you see a man will die of it 
unless the restraint of celibacy or the conjugal remedy resists 
it? I discussed the matter with you earlier when you 
expressly placed conjugal chastity between lasciviousness and 
celibacy, saying: 'Conjugal chastity which soothes the ardent 
with shy modesty, and praises those who do not need such 
a remedy.' I shall repeat what I said there; listen once more 
to my short and clear answer. 'When I say this concupiscence 
is a disease, why do you deny it, if you concede that a remedy 
for it is necessary? If you acknowledge the remedy, acknowl- 
edge the disease. If you deny the disease, deny the remedy. 


I beg you, yield at last to the truth which even you yourself 
have spoken. No one provides a remedy for health. 51 

(43) In what do your 'glorious combats' of the holy virgins 
consist, except that they are not conquered by evil, but con- 
quer the evil in good? I prefer to call these combats 
more glorious, not merely glorious, for conjugal chastity also 
has its victory, although lesser, from the subjugation of this 
evil. It, too, combats carnal concupiscence lest it exceed the 
proprieties of the marriage bed ; it combats lest concupiscence 
break into the time agreed upon by the spouses for prayer. 
If this conjugal chastity possesses such great power and is 
so great gift from God that it does what the matrimonial 
code prescribes, it combats in even more valiant fashion in 
regard to the act of conjugal union, lest there be indulgence 
beyond what suffices for generating offspring. Such chastity 
abstains during menstruation and pregnancy, nor has it union 
with one no longer able to conceive on account of age. And 
the desire for union does not prevail, but ceases when there 
is no prospect of generation. But if an act is done in regard to 
the spouse, not contrary to nature, yet passing beyond the 
limit of the matrimonial code, then, according to the Apostle, 2 
it is something pardonable, because the carnal limit is not 
exceeded, yet, lest the limit itself be exceeded, there must be 
warfare against evil of concupiscence, which is so evil it must 
be resisted in the combat waged by chastity, lest it do damage. 

(44) Unless I am mistaken, you are also in this combat, 
and because you think you are fighting faithfully you fear 
defeat. By what, I ask? By good or evil? Or do you so fear 
to be overcome by me that you continue to deny to be evil and 
praise as good that which you fear will defeat you? You are 
forced into great straits between two adversaries, wishing to 
conquer me through eloquence, and to conquer lust through 

1 Above, p. 133. 

2 Cr. 1 Cor. 7.6. 


continence. But in fighting against lust, you confess the evil; 
in praising it, you desert the good of truth* I shall conquer 
you, who both attack and praise this evil, by placing you 
before no other judge than yourself. You want to conquer 
concupiscence by routing it, and to conquer me by praising 
it. I answer: that he who praises may be conquered, let him 
who fights be the judge. If concupiscence is evil, why praise 
it? If it is good, why attack it? As long as you oppose 
lust, you judge for my side against yourself. Perhaps, lest 
you be conquered in your combat with me, you will decide 
not to fight against lust, telling yourself it is better not to 
fight than to show by fighting that what you praise is evil. 
Do not do this, I pray you. What am I, whom you desire to 
conquer at so great a price? Let the truth conquer you, 
instead, that you may conquer lust, for if you cease to war 
against it, you will be conquered, I say, and drawn to all 
manner of uncleanness. Since this is an evil to be abhorred, 
it will not conduct you to what you desire, for even in this 
way you will be conquered by me actually by the truth I 
proclaim. But you who praise concupiscence and attack con- 
cupiscence will be conquered by your own judgment if you 
praise the evil in the rout of which you glory. If, however, 
you cease to fight, lest the voice of praise be silenced in the 
effort of warfare, I shall conquer the captive of concupis- 
cence, the deserter of continence, no longer by his own judg- 
ment, but by the judgment of wisdom. 

(45) Thus our case is closed. No matter how highly you 
praise the concupiscence of the flesh, as long as you fight 
against it you must perceive the truth of the words of the 
Apostle John about it, and it alone, that 'It is not from the 
Father.' 3 If, as you say: 'He who does not hold to the mode 
of it uses a good evilly,' then it must also be good in those 
who use it evilly. What, then, is that which is not from the 

3 1 John 2.16. 


Father? Do you also intend to praise that thing, however you 
understand it? Furthermore, if it is evil, where will it be evil, 
and when will it be evil? For it must be good even when 
some one uses it evilly, and you say that not it, but the man 
who uses the good evilly, is evil. Thus, it was in vain that 
John said the concupiscence of the flesh is not from the 
Father, for you contend that it is good, and, therefore, from 
the Father, even when someone uses it evilly, because he uses 
a good evilly. You cannot say that when it is moderate it is 
from the Father, but when it is immoderate it is not from 
the Father, because here you say again that it is a good which 
an evil man uses evilly. But you will be freed from these straits 
if you heed your fighting rather than your voice, for con- 
tinence is from the Father, and concupiscence would not be 
attacked by continence unless concupiscence were not from 
the Father. This concupiscence, therefore, against which you 
fight bitterly, if you live in continence, is not from the Father; 
for you would not fight against it unless it fought against 
you, nor would it fight against you when you accomplish 
something given and loved by the Father if it were from the 

(46) From and with this concupiscence is born a man, 
a good work of God, but not born without the evil which 
the origin of generation contracts and which the gi:ace of 
regeneration heals. Therefore, I had good reason for saying: 
'The goodness of marriage cannot be accused on account of 
the evil by way of origin which it there contracted, just a& 
the evil of adultery and fornication cannot be excused on 
account of the natural good which is born therefrom.' 4 I 
was referring to the natural good which you praise with me, 
and the evil by way of origin against whose activity you fight 
alongside me; by praising which you fight against me. The 
fact of your birth is not an evil, but that with which you were 

4 De nuptiis et concupisccntia 1.1. 


born and against which you fight spiritually because you were 
reborn, is evil. The fact of your birth pertains to God's 
creative power and the fecundity of your parents. That 
against which you fight, because you have been reborn, 
pertains to the prevarication which was sowed by the Devil's 
cunning; from which the grace of Christ delivered you, 
so that you once used this evil well in marriage, and 
you now oppose it in yourself; no longer guilty of it as you 
were at birth, but freed from the guilt only because of re- 
birth, so that after your redemption you might be able to 
reign with Christ provided this heresy does not cause you 
to perish with the Devil. We desire far more than you that 
you confess the evil against which you fight, so that when 
this evil is gone, not separated as though it were an alien 
nature, but entirely healed in you, you may be happy in ever- 
lasting peace. 

(47) I am not, as you say, a charlatan, promising, as it 
were, to show a beast that consumes itself. Beware, how- 
ever, lest that bestial movement against which you seem 
to fight in your flesh consume you if you set it free, just as 
it is perverting you when you praise it. I did not say, as you 
calumniously assert, that 'Marriage is both a great good and 
a great evil,' as though this statement were to consume itself 
like the medicine man's beast. I said that in one and the 
same man the nature is good; the fault, evil. You yourself 
certainly admit this in adulterers, where you neither condem 
the nature on account of the fault nor approve the fault on 
account of the nature. I said that marriage, from which you 
were born, is good; the evil against which you, reborn, wage 
war is not derived from marriage, but from a vitiated origin. 

(48) It is ridiculous for you to say that I follow the Epi- 
curean way and brush aside all forces by which covetings 
are restrained. What if I should praise the pleasure of the 
body! What Epicurus did crudely and without finesse you 


do quite eloquently, as though the reason you oppose him were 
that he lacked artistry in saying what you say. I notice, also, 
that you have gone to some length to appear an encomiast 
of pleasure, but not an Epicurean. Give yourself no further 
trouble; I shall relieve you of that burden. You are not an 
Epicurean, because Epicurus put the whole of man's good 
in the pleasure of the body, while you try to put the major 
part of human good in virtue; but you do not understand 
true virtue, which is the virtue of true piety, for God has said 
to man: 'Behold, piety is wisdom.' 5 This comes only from 
Him of whom is written: 'The Lord maketh the blind wise,' 6 
of whom we also read: 'If any of you is wanting in wisdom, 
let him ask it of God.' 7 But if you who with Epicurus praise 
pleasure are not an Epicurean, how much less am I, who 
agreed with Ambrose about the pleasure of the flesh, 8 that 
it is an enemy of justice, and that a man fashioned in the 
pleasure of concupiscence is under the contagion of offenses 
before he is born? But what are our morals, how we live, is 
easily discovered by those with whom we live. We are con- 
cerned here with Catholic dogma and faith. Let none of 
the deserter's perfidy be found in you. I confess that I teach 
men what I learned in the apostolic writings: 'If we say that 
we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not 
in us.' 9 I confess that in the people of God and with the 
people of God I strike my breast and say truthfully: Torgive 
us our trespasses.' 10 You may not scoff at us for this; indeed, 
you are heretics because these things displease you. We rely 
on the true mercy of God; you, on your own false virtue. 
You say that the grace of God is given according to our 
merits, but, if Pelagius had not condemned this, he would 

5 lob 28.28. 

6 Ps. 145.8. 
* James 1.5. 

8 Above, pp. 71-72. 

9 1 John 1.8. 
10 Matt. 6.12. 


have been condemned by the Catholic bishops. We confess 
that grace is given gratuituously and for this reason it is called 
grace, and all the merits of the saints come from it, as the 
Apostle says: 'By the grace of God I am what I am.' 11 This 
is the reason you laugh at us and despise us in comparison 
with your stubborn selves. We are a reproach to the rich and 
contempt to the proud. 12 You have confounded the counsel 
of the poor man, but the Lord is his hope. 13 

(49) I do not see why you say in this matter that I brush 
aside all the forces by which covetings are restrained, since I 
declare that all covetings must be restrained with every force 
of virtue according to the grace of God which is given to 
men. I ask you whether the covetings you say must be re- 
strained, and to which you say I give free rein, are good or 
evil. I do not think they are covetings of horses or of any 
other but human animals; they are our own. Therefore, in 
us there are evil covetings which we restrain by living well. 
You accuse me, then, of the crime of undermining the forces 
by which evil, not good, covetings are restrained. One of these 
is the concupiscence of the flesh, from which and with which 
infants are born, and on account of which they are reborn. 

I say that chaste spouses use this evil well; adulterers use it 
evilly. But you say adulterers use this good evilly, and chaste 
spouses use it well. We both say continence does better in not 
using it at all. But I am referring to this evil; you, to this 
good. Although God alone knows our conscience, while our 
conduct is known also by those among whom we live, we 
both profess continence, and, if we both practice what we 
profess, we restrain concupiscence, we war Against its re- 
bellious movements, we overcome it, if we are to make 
progress. There is a difference, however. I say what I am 
restraining is an evil; you say it is a good. I say an evil is 

II 1 Cor. 15.10. 

12 Cf. Ps. 122.4. 

13 Cf. Ps. 13.6. 


opposing me; you say a good opposes you. I fight an evil; 
you, a good. I desire to subdue an evil; you, a good. It would 
seem that you seek rather to arouse concupiscence by your 
praise than restrain it by continence. 

(50) You profess to engage in glorious combats through 
continence. I ask what you oppose. What can you answer 
except that you oppose the concupiscence of the flesh? As 
friend or enemy? Can you say other than as enemy? Tor the 
flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh, 
for these are opposed to each other,' 14 as the Apostle says. 
Perhaps your praising it while opposing it is only pretense. 
I do not see how you could in good faith praise and oppose 
it at the same time, for you would be praising it as a friend 
and opposing it as an enemy. We shall believe one of the two, 
but you must choose which one. If you fight wholeheartedly, 
then you do not praise wholeheartedly. But if your declaration 
is sincere, you must be jesting in your combat. I am not your 
enemy as the evil which dwells in your flesh is your enemy, and 
I most earnestly desire that you shall overcome this evil with 
sound doctrine and holiness of life. Of the two, you can do 
only one wholeheartedly; the other would be pretense. I should 
prefer that your praise of concupiscence were pretense rather 
than your opposition to it, for it is better to be wrong in speech 
than in living, and wrong in judgment than in continence. 
Yoy are counterfeiting this praise in your opposition if you are 
not counterfeiting the chastity by which you oppose your own 
concupiscence. Thus, it may come to pass that you will no 
longer speak falsely against me, if you wage war truthfully 
against lust. But, whether you are counterfeiting in reference 
to the only one of them or to both (I do not see how you 
could sincerely fight against what you praise, and also praise 
what you fight against without some kind of counterfeit), I 
shall accept the milder view about you and proceed on the 

14 Gal. 5.6. 


supposition that I am dealing with an opponent of lust. I do 
not say, then, that marriage is evil, but that it uses an evil 
well. You say marriage uses a good well, declaring that the 
concupiscence of the flesh is a good, although you show it 
to be evil by opposing it in yourself. I have already described 
how the married, who use it well, must also war against it. 

Chapter 22 

(51) Since these things are so, we see that marriage, as 
marriage, is good, and man, be he born of marriage or of 
adultery, is good in so far as he is man, because, in so far as 
he is a man, he is the work of God; yet, because generated 
with and from the evil which conjugal chastity uses well, it 
is necessary that he be freed from the bond of this evil by re- 
generation. Why do you ask where original sin is, when the 
lust against which you fight in yourself speaks to you more 
eloquently than you yourself speak when you praise it? Why 
do you ask: * Whence does man, whom God made, come 
to be under the power of the Devil?' Whence does he come 
under a death which God did not make? You ask: 'What 
does the Devil recognize as his own, if he made neither what 
was made, nor whence it was made?' What was made is man; 
whence it is made, the seed of man. Both are good ; the Devil 
made neither, but sowed the fault of the seed. The Devil does 
not recognize there his own good, because the good we both 
praise is not his; but he recognizes his own evil, against 
which we both fight, and it is not right that what we both 
fight against is praised by one of us. Surely you realize that 
when you ask me: 'Among so many goods, whence comes 
the evil in infants?' you pass by what I wrote in the same 
book you are answering; among the statements you are now 
answering I quote the Apostle's words: 'Through one man 


sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus 
passed unto all men; in whom all have sinned.' 1 You do not 
want anyone to hear or to read this in that passage where 
it is most necessary, lest they recognize their own faith, and 
despise your arguments. 

Chapter 23 

(52) You say I declared: 'If a man is born of fornication, 
he is not guilty; if born of marriage, he is not innocent. 5 This 
is extravagant and open calumny. I declare that, according 
to the Catholic faith which the Fathers most openly defended 
against you before you were born, we assert that, no matter 
whence born, a man is innocent because there is no personal 
sin, and he is guilty through original sin. I declared that the 
substance of his nature, of which God is the author, is good 
even in great sinners, who are evil also because of the per- 
sonal sins they have added to the evil with which they were 
born. Why should I fear the objection you raise, that I im- 
pute the sins of all parents to all their children? Even if the 
proposition be true (referring not to those exercising free 
will, but to the new-born ) , the substance of the nature, whose 
author is God, would by no means be evil, but only the faults 
that are in that nature, and against which you also, to use 
your own words, 'engage in glorious combats.' 

(53) You say: 'When adulterers beget offspring, a man 
is born from the power of the seeds, not from the depravity 
of their unlawful act.' In the same way, when the married 
beget, a man is born from the power of the seeds, not from 
the soundness of marriage. If this is not true, and man is 
born from both elements in marriage, it follows that man is 
born from both elements in adultery. But, if we consider 

i Rom. 5,12. 


the very essence of marriage, we must say the fruit of marriage 
itself is not the generation of men, who can also be born of 
adultery, but the orderly begetting of offspring. Why, then, 
do you say my statement is entirely false when I say that 
the goodness of marriage cannot be accused on account of 
the evil by way of origin thence derived? Not only is it true 
that, in order that you be born, your parents made good use 
of the evil you oppose; we must also say the evil thence de- 
rived would have remained as guilt in you if you had not 
been reborn. Thus, the married who use the evil well cannot 
be accused, and the offspring must be regenerated in order 
that they may be delivered from evil. If the goodness of 
marriage were only good use of a good, we might well wonder 
how evil can be thence derived. But, since the goodness of 
marriage is good use of an evil, it does not surprise us that 
from the evil which the goodness of marriage uses well is 
derived the evil which is original sin. It is a matter of wonder 
that though the Apostles were the good odor of Christ, both 
good and evil were thence derived. To some they were the 
odor of life unto life; to others the odor of death, 1 although 
this odor was not the use of evil, but of good; they were the 
good odor of Christ because they used the grace of Christ 
well. Therefore, your statement: 'If evil is thence derived, 
the source can be accused; it cannot be excused,' is false, 
because original evil is thence derived when good is also 
thence derived, the good which is the orderly propagation 
of offspring. The reason this evil is thence derived is not 
simply that marriage is good, but that among the goods of 
marriage there is also the use of evil. Nuptial union was not 
instituted for the sake of carnal concupiscence, as you think, 
but for the sake of the good which is made from that evil. 
This good would exist without that evil if no one had sinned, 
but, as it is, this good cannot exist without that evil; yet, 

1 Cf. 2 Cor. 2.15,16. 


the good is not therefore evil. Conversely, there can be no 
evil without a good; yet, evil is not therefore good, for the 
work of God in the nature is a good, without which, however, 
there cannot be an evil will. Thus, just as adultery cannot 
exist without the good of nature, yet adultery is not there- 
fore good, so the marriage union cannot now exist with- 
out the evil of concupiscence, yet marriage is not there- 
fore evil. Hence, even if we should grant you your premiss 
that every cause of evil is destitute of good, you could not 
apply this principle to marriage, which is not a cause of evil. 
Marriage did not produce the evil of concupiscence, but only 
found it there to be used well. 

Chapter 24 

(54) You say: 'Nothing which brings guilt to other things 
associated with it can escape penalty.' Applied to the con- 
cupiscence of the flesh, this is not absurd. Faithful spouses 
use this evil well, yet the offspring generated from this evil 
contracts guilt, and that is why the offspring, too, must be 
regenerated. But neither can this evil escape penalty. Its pen- 
alty will be punished together with the generated if they have 
not been regenerated; it will cease to exist in the regenerated 
when they are completely healed. You declare: 'If original evil 
is derived even from marriage, then the marital union is a 
cause of evil.' What if some one said that, if an evil will be 
derived from a nature, the constitution of natures is a cause of 
evils? Is this not absolutely false? Your inference is likewise 
false, although, as a matter of fact, original evil is not derived 
from marriage, but from carnal concupiscence. This is the evil 
you combat, and which spouses use well when they come to- 
gether only for the purpose of procreation. Moreover, if the 
sin which has passed unto all men had not come first, there 


would not have been an evil for spouses to use well, yet they 
would have come together to procreate offspring. 

(55) I think the first part of my book 1 has fully exposed 
your error about the good and the bad trees. Since this part 
of your argument merely revives difficulties already solved, 
we need not waste time in useless repetition. You ask: 'Where 
does the sin in infants come from?' You enumerate many 
goods, but are silent about the evil you combat; yet even in 
your silence you cry out, for you write: 'Parents who by their 
union produce a cause of sin are rightly condemned since 
by their act the Devil gains mastery over men. 5 You could 
make the same complaint to God Himself, not because He 
creates men who contract original sin, since you deny original 
sin, but because He feeds and clothes innumerable ungodly 
men who He knows will persist in their ungodliness. If He did 
not preserve them, the Devil would surely not have any men to 
serve him. Perhaps you will say that in caring for such men 
God attends to nothing but the good of which He is the au- 
thor, namely, that they are men. We say, then, that when par- 
ents beget offspring they think only of this good, namely, that 
they are men; especially true here, since they know nothing of 
what awaits their children. In other words, as you also agree, 
there would be no sin if no evil will came first, because there 
would have been no sin by way of origin (as we assert, but 
you deny) if the nature had not been vitiated by the evil will 
of the first man. But there would have been no evil will if 
there had not first been a nature, angelic or human. Do you 
want to say in consequence that God is the cause of sins be- 
cause His will is the cause of mutable natures? The fact that 
rational natures fall away from good is not imputed to God 
the Creator, although the fact that they are good is imputed to 
Him. In the same way, the fact that children are born with 
the evil of concupiscence is not to be attributed to the parents 

1 Cf. above, 8.38-41. 


who beget them, and who use this evil well, although the fact 
that the children are a good is imputed to the parents. It does 
not follow, as you think it does, that because it is said the 
origin of the sin without which no man is born is from the 
Devil, the origin of those who are born is from the Devil, in 
so far as they are men. That the origin of death is from the 
Devil does not imply that the origin of mortals is from him. 
(56) You say you are looking for 'a crack in the many 
ramparts around innocence by which sin could have entered,' 
although the Apostle Paul shows you, not a crack, but a 
wide-open door, when he says: 'Through one man sin entered 
into the world and through sin death, and thus death has 
passed unto all men.' But you bypass these words for your 
own : 'Because the work of the Devil is not permitted to pass 
through the work of God'; although men are the work of 
God, yet sin, which the Apostle says passed to all of them, 
is the work of the Devil. You cry out: 'If the nature is from 
God, there cannot be original evil in it,' as though someone 
else might not think it more religious to cry out that if the 
nature is from God no evil can arise from it, or that there 
can be no evil in it. Yet this is false, because evil can only 
come from a nature and can exist only in a nature. I declare, 
then, that he who is born is the work of God, even though 
contracting original evil, since what in him is the work of 
God is good, because the work of God is good even when 
it is with evil, not only in infancy but at any age whatsoever; 
the substance, the form, the life, the senses, the power of 
reason, and all the rest are goods, even in an evil man, no 
matter who he may be. Who brings it about that a man live, 
unless it be He in whom we live and move and have our 
being? 2 But this takes place in a certain operation of His ben- 
eficence which is hidden from us except in those visible foods 
by which we are sustained from outside. Therefore, He who 

2 Acts 17.28. 


brings it about that a man live, even if he lives a vicious life, 
also brings about the birth of man, although by vitiated origin. 

Chapter 25 

(57 ) What do you mean by arbitrarily selecting words from 
my book and pretending I say that, before Adam's sin, the 
institution of marriage was different; that it could have 
existed without concupiscence, without activity of bodies, 
and without need of the two sexes? Subtract from marriage 
the concupiscence by which the flesh lusts against the spirit, 
subtract the evil you oppose when you engage in glorious 
combats by means of the virtue of continence, and you need 
not subtract the rest, if you are looking for the kind of 
marriage which could have existed before the sin of the first 
men. Has anyone ever conceived of marriage without activity 
of bodies and without need of the two sexes? We say, how- 
ever, that the war which the chaste, be they celibates or 
spouses, experience in themselves would by no means have 
existed in paradise before sin. Therefore, the very same kind 
of marriage exists even now, but at that time it would have 
used nothing evil in generating offspring, while it now uses 
well the evil of concupiscence. Marriage has not by this evil 
lost its own goods, which are found in the faith of chastity, 
and in the contract of union, and in the fruit which is off- 
spring. At that time, also, a husband would have cleaved to 
his wife to beget offspring. They would not have had the 
activity of turbulent lust in their flesh, however, but only the 
movement of peaceful will by which we command the other 
members of the body. 

(58) You accuse me of saying that the infants who have 
filled the world, and for whom Christ died, are the work of 
the Devil, and are born of disease, and are guilty from their 


very origin. Infants are not the work of the Devil, as to their 
substance, but by the work of the Devil they are guilty by 
way of origin. This is why Christ also died for infants, 
a fact you yourself confess, because the blood which was shed 
for the forgiveness of sins 1 also applies to them. You estrange 
them from this blood when you deny they contract the sin 
by way of origin. Moreover, you should not take offense at 
my saying concupiscence is disease, since you also admit a 
remedy has been provided for it. The origin of infants, from 
which they were to be born, was in Adam. This source being 
vitiated and condemned through sin, Christ instituted another 
origin, from which they might be reborn. 

Chapter 26 

(59) You say: 'If, before sin, God created that whence 
men are born, while the Devil made that whence parents 
are aroused, then we cannot hesitate to ascribe sanctity to 
the new-born, and guilt to those who generate.' What do 
you mean by saying the parents are aroused? If they are 
aroused by the godliness of will by which a man hopes to 
beget children, this was also instituted by God. If they are 
aroused by the agitation of lust, which the decision of their 
will is not sufficient either to excite or to remove, this is the 
wound of the nature, inflicted by the prevarication to which 
the Devil persuaded the man. Thus I had good reason for 
saying, 'The semination of children in the body of that life 
would have been without that disease without which sem- 
ination cannot exist in the body of this death.' 1 

(60) You argue: 'Children pertain to the good of fe- 
cundity, which, before the disease of lust, was instituted by 
God's blessing; they do not pertain to the disease of lust, if 

1 De nuptiis et concupiscentia 1.1. 


it is something added later after men sinned. Therefore, sanc- 
tity must be ascribed to the new-born, and guilt to those who 
generate. 5 You do not see that the whole of the nature from 
which the offspring was to come was changed for the worse 
by that great sin. By your argument you could also say that 
Eve, not the other women, was to feel the pains of child- 
birth because the blessing in which it was said: 'Increase 
and multiply, 52 from which the children are procreated, was 
made before the female sex was punished by that curse. But 
if you use this argument, someone will surely retort that 
from the curse also, just as from the sin, the entire nature was 
changed for the worse; whence were derived original sin and 
the heavy yoke upon the sons of Adam. 

(61) It is not true, as you argue, that the Apostle was 
describing a Jew placed under the law when he said: 'I 
know that in me, that is, in my flesh, no good dwells, 5 and 'It 
is no longer I who do it, but the sin that dwells in me, 5 and 
'Evil is at hand for me, 5 and 'I see another law in my mem- 
bers, warring against the law of my mind. 5 He was describ- 
ing human nature in this corruptible flesh, and human nature 
as God's work was not first instituted with a fault, but was 
damaged by the fault coming from the voluntary choice of 
the first men. Whose are the words, 'Unhappy man that I 
am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death? The 
grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord'? 3 Are these the 
words of a Jew? God forbid. Undoubtedly, they are the words 
of a Christian; therefore, so are the others from which this 
follows as a consequence. He who said: 'I see another law 
in my members, warring against the law of my mind, 5 also 
said: 'The grace of God will free me from the body of this 
death, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 

(62) Perhays you think they are the words of a cate- 

2 Gen. 1.28. 

3 Rom. 7.18,20,23-25. 


chumen still hoping for the laver of regeneration; that after 
the laver he will have no law of sin in his members, warring 
against the law of his mind; although you yourself, as you 
wish us to believe, engage in glorious combats through the 
good of continence against the evil of concupiscence, after 
the laver of regeneration. Consider his words to the Galatians, 
who were certainly baptized. 'But I say: Walk in the Spirit, 
and you will not fulfill the concupiscences of the flesh.' He 
does not say they are not to have them, because they were 
unable to be without them; he says: 'Do not fulfill them,' 
that is, do not carry out their works by consent of the will. 
Tor the flesh lusts against the spirit,' he says, 'and the spirit 
lusts against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other so 
that you do not do what you would.' See whether he does 
not write to the Romans; 'I do not the good which I wish, but 
the evil that I do not wish, that I perform.' Writing to the 
Galatians, he makes an addition and says: 'If you are led 
by the Spirit you are not under the law.' 4 See whether he 
does not write to the Romans: 'It is no longer I who do it' 
and 'I am delighted with the law of God according to the 
inner man' and 'Let not sin reign in your mortal body so 
that you obey its lusts.' 5 For, if a man does not obey the 
concupiscences which must exist in the flesh of sin and in the 
body of this death, he will not fulfill what the Apostle for- 
bids him to fulfill when he says: 'Do not fulfill the concupi- 
scences of the flesh.' The works described in the entire pas- 
sage are in wonderful sequence: 'Now the works of the flesh 
are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, licenti- 
ousness, idolatry,' 6 and the rest. Therefore, although the con- 
cupiscences of the flesh are realized in their movements, they 
are not fulfilled in works if the will does not consent to them. It 

4 Gal. 5.16-18. 

5 Rom. 7.15,20,22; 6.12. 

6 Gal. 5.19,20. 


follows that when the flesh lusts against the spirit and the 
spirit lusts against the flesh, and we do not the things we 
wish, then neither are the concupiscences of the flesh ful- 
filled, although they indeed come into being; nor are our 
good works fulfilled, although they also actually come into 
being. For just as the concupiscence of the flesh is fulfilled 
only when the spirit consents to it in evil works, so that the 
spirit does not lust against the flesh but lusts with it; so, 
too, our good works are fulfilled only when the flesh in no 
way lusts against the spirit. This is the effect which we will 
when we long for the perfection of justice, and we ought al- 
ways to maintain this intention. But because we cannot arrive 
at this perfection in this corruptible flesh, he says to 
the Romans: 'To wish is present with me, but I do not find 
the strength to accomplish what is good,' or, as the Greek 
codices have it : 'To wish is within my power, but not to f ulfiill 
the good.' 7 He does not say he is unable to do good, but 
unable to fulfill the good, for to do good is to go not after 
thy lusts, 8 but to fulfill the good is to be free from concu- 
piscence. Therefore, the exhortation to the Galatians: 'Do 
not fulfiill the concupiscences of the flesh,' is put to the 
Romans conversely: 'I do not find the strength to fulfill 
the good.' Concupiscences are not fulfilled in evil when 
the assent of our will is withheld from them; and our will 
is not fulfilled in good as long as their activity, to which 
we do not consent, perseveres. This conflict, in which the 
baptized must also fight as in a combat, when the flesh 
lusts against the spirit and the spirit lusts against the flesh; 
when the spirit does a good work in not consenting to evil 
concupiscence, but does not fulfill the good because it does 
not destroy the evil desires themselves; and when the flesh 
has an evil desire, but does not fulfill it, because, when the 

7 Rom. 7.18. 

8 Cf. Eccli. 18.30. 


spirit does not consent to it, the flesh does not fulfill damnable 
works this conflict is not given to Jews, nor to any others, 
but it is manifestly the conflict of Christian believers, who 
fight in this combat by living well. The Apostle demonstrates 
this briefly to the Romans when he says: 'Therefore I myself 
with my mind serve the law of God, but with my flesh, 
the law of sin.' 9 

(63) If this is our condition in the body of this death 
(which was certainly not the condition in paradise in the 
body of that life), then without any doubt it is plain enough 
whence infants born carnally contract at birth the obligation 
of sin which is dissolved only when they are reborn spiri- 
tually. They do not contract this obligation from human 
nature as produced by God, but from the wound which the 
Enemy inflicted on human nature; not an enemy which, as 
the Manichaeans say, emerged from a nature of evil God did 
not make, but an enemy angel, once good as the work of God, 
now evil from his own work. This enemy first wounded and 
felled himself so that he made others to be, like himself, out- 
cast, and through evil suasion inflicted the wound of preva- 
rication from which the human race limps even in those who 
walk in the way of God. 

(64) You are incensed because I said: 'This concupiscence, 
shamelessly praised by shameless men, is something to be 
ashamed of,' 10 and you use many angry words, even more 
shamelessly extolling yourselves and, saying your purpose is 
to exhort men to strive for virtue, when you try, in agreement 
with holy Scripture and with most evident reason, as you 
say, to show there is no evil in the nature. You say no height 
of virtue is so lofty a believing mind cannot reach it with 
God's help. You say the reason you insist there is not in the 
flesh what you call a necessity coming from evil is that man 

9 Rom. 7.25. 
10 De nuptiis et concupiscentia 1.1. 


made in honor will blush to lead a deformed life, and, thus, 
'modesty will confront base sloth with praise of inborn nobil- 
ity/ and many other eloquent phrases. You press the argument 
against us and say no one can doubt that the overthrow of 
sanctity, the contamination of chastity, and the defiling of 
morals are in accord with and even inherent in our teachings. 
You think I cannot deny this because, as you assert, I turn 
the sordidness of evil conduct to the disadvantage of nature, 
that I may relieve sinners of fear. You think I console sinners 
for their obscenities to the injury of the Apostles and all 
the saints because I state that the golden vessel, Paul the 
Apostle, often said: 'I do not the good that I wish, but the 
evil that I do not wish, that I perform'; 11 and this does not 
exhaust your calumnies. 

(65) But, while you are praising yourselves and accusing 
us, you are fighting against the evil of concupiscence, and 
in this fighting you confess what you deny in words. You 
wish it to appear that you have reached the height of virtue, 
and from the summit itself on which you think you stand, 
are warring against pursuing concupiscence as though from 
a fortress, so that, no matter how superior your position, 
you never cease to combat the internal enemy. Yet you do 
not blush to praise concupiscence, which will unques- 
tionably make your destruction more complete if it conquers 
you and that against Him who seeks you who have been 
lost, even when it conquers. This is most evident when at 
end of your book you say my only intention is to swear by the 
sacraments of the vices to wage war on the virtues; to strive 
with all cunning and fury for the fall of the City of God; to 
terrify those who combat baseness by making them despair 
of achieving chastity; to invent lies about the forces of an 
obscene lust so great that reason cannot rule and restrain 
it, and not even the legion of Apostles could oppose it. 

11 Rom. 7.19. 


Complete lies about me! I do not wage war on virtues; 
but to the best of my ability I do indeed wage war on vices 
and declare that war must be waged on them. If you, also, 
do this, why do you praise that against which you fight? How 
shall I believe you are subduing by virtue the enemies you 
fear to oppose vigorously in word? If both of us attack con- 
cupiscence, why do we not both revile it? Why will you not 
condemn by statement what you boast of expelling by con- 
tinence? You say I invent lies about forces of lust so great 
that reason cannot rule and restrain it. I do not say the 
forces of lust are so great that human reason, divinely helped 
and aroused, cannot rule and restrain it. But you why do 
you deny that to be evil which slays if not restrained? Attend, 
with all my force I proclaim what you say I deny: The 
legion of Apostles warred against lust, which indeed warred 
against them. You slander us and seem to be indignant, as 
though we had injured the Apostles. Why do you honor their 
enemy and yours with praises? Who but an enemy of the 
Apostles would defend what the legion of the Apostles 

(66) Does lust deserve to have both your friendship and 
your opposition, so that you attack it in yourself, yet defend 
it against me? Your opposition is latent; your friendship is 
patent; the patent makes the latent suspect. But can you 
ask us to believe in the warfare you say you wage under 
cover, when we see your friendship in the open? How do you 
want us to think you oppose the sting of lust, when you fill 
books with the praise of lust? But I shall overcome my sus- 
picion. I believe you attack what you praise, but I am sorry 
to see you praise what you attack. From this evil, then, and 
with it, is generated man, whom you deny is saved by re- 
generation. For this is the evil which the married use well, 
and which celibates do better in not using at all. If that by 
which the flesh lusts against the spirit and which you also 


admit the legion of the Apostles combated is an evil, it follows 
that when the married make good use of it they cannot be 
using a good well, but an evil. Children generated from and 
with this evil are to be regenerated so that they may be 
delivered from evil. Their parents were also born guilty of 
this original evil, though they were delivered from the guilt 
by rebirth. What would we have them beget, not from that 
whence they were reborn, but from that whence they were 
born, except that which they themselves were at birth? 
Therefore, they beget the guilty, and, since they gen- 
erate from that whence they were born, they cannot gen- 
erate something different from what they themselves were 
at birth. But, whence they were reborn, thence they were 
delivered from the guilt with which they were born. There- 
fore, the offspring which liberated parents generate as guilty 
must itself be delivered by that same regeneration, because 
as guilty it was born from the evil which the reborn use well 
in order that men may be born to be regenerated. If you 
do not combat this evil, believe those who are combating it. 
If you also do so, acknowledge the adversary and do not in 
praising the disease hold as a friend what combat shows 
by experience to be an enemy. 


Chapter 1 

|ET us NOW BEGIN at the beginning of the second 
volume, and look at the rest of the arguments with 
which you try to refute my book. In accordance 
with our plan, we shall confine ourselves to real difficulties, 
avoiding superfluities, so as not to discourage the reader by too 
many words and prevent his paying adequate attention. In the 
foregoing book we said enough to make clear to those able 
to judge properly that the true and good God is the Creator 
of men; that marriage is a good which God instituted in the 
state and union of the two sexes, and which He blessed with 
fecundity; that the concupiscence of the flesh by which the 
flesh lusts against the spirit is evil. Conjugal modesty uses this 
same evil well, and more holy celibacy does better in re- 
fraining from its use. This evil is not a mixture in us of 
another substance which God did not make, as Manichaeus 
raves, but had its origin and was transmitted through the 
disobedience of one man, and must be expiated and healed 
through the obedience of one Man. A deserved punishment 
involves man at birth in subjection to this evil, while un- 



merited grace frees man at rebirth. In praising this evil, op- 
posing me, you seem my adversary, while in warring against 
it in yourself you are my witness; but if you do not war 
against it you are your own enemy. I think I have made 
suffcient reply to your first book, which covered the whole 
matter, yet, lest it seem that we were unable to answer your 
other three books, we shall consider their vain pretensions. 

(2) You exult over some words from my book, 1 that 
'By the testimony of the Apostle, conjugal modesty is a gift 
of God,' as though the Apostle praised the evil you praise, 
by which the flesh lusts against the spirit, 2 and which conjugal 
modesty uses well. I answered this in a former book. It is 
no small gift of God when this evil is so restrained that it 
is used for nothing unlawful but serves only for the generation 
of children who are to be regenerated. Its force is not self- 
moderating, for no one abstains from unlawful acts if he 
follows its lead. Hence it is praised, not for its disquieting 
activity, but for the restrained and good use made of it by 
the individual. 

(3) When married believers use well that evil from whose 
guilt they have been freed by the gift of the Savior, then 
those born by the gift of that same Creator are not, as you 
object to me, 'made subject to the kingdom of the Devil,' 
but, rather, are prepared to be rescued from it and trans- 
ferred to the kingdom of the Only-begotten. This is and 
ought to be the intention of godly married persons: to pre- 
pare birth for rebirth. If, however, this evil which parents 
sense in themselves, the evil against which, in your words, 
'the legion of the Apostles warred,' did not pertain to the 
children, they would be born without it. But, since they are 
actually born with it, why do you marvel that they must be 
reborn in order to be absolved from its guilt, and either be 

1 De nuptiis et concupiscentia 1.3. 

2 Cf 1 Cor. 7.7., Gal. 5.17. 


taken from this life free from this evil or be obliged to fight 
against it in this life, as free men, and be rewarded as victors 
in the end? 

(4) Who ever theorized that 'the conjugal relationship 
was invented by the Devil?' Who has ever believed that 'the 
union of bodies is the result of the evil of the prevarication,' 
since marriage could by no means exist without these elements 
and there would be no evil of this kind if no one had sinned? 
Raise objections to what I actually said, and I shall clear 
myself; if you object to what I never said, when shall we end 
the discussion? 

(5) 'It follows,' you think, 'that the gift of God is harmful 
if a man is born with an evil, since no one is born except 
by the gift of God.' Then listen and understand. The gift 
of God by which a man exists and lives harms no one. But 
the evil of concupiscence cannot exist except in him who 
exists and lives. Evil, then, can exist in the gift of God, to 
be healed by another gift of God. Hence, there can exist in 
man, who exists and lives by the gift of God, an evil which 
is contracted by generation and must be healed by regen- 
eration. No infant could be born with a demon if he were 
not born, nor may we think that his being born is the cause 
of the evil. He is born by the gift of God, but he is born 
with a demon by a judgment of God which is indeed hidden 
but is it unjust? 

Chapter 2 

(6) When I said: 'If one does not possess the conjugal 
good, he should ask this, too, from the Lord' 1 (and who 
except he for whom it is necessary?), I seem to you to have 

1 De nuptiis 1.3. 


said that 'he should ask for the power to have intercourse/ 
But I said a man should ask God for conjugal modesty to 
be used in lawful mode, not in unlimited intercourse. If 
someone is not able to have intercourse it were better for him 
not to seek a wife, since, when the Apostle says: 'If they 
do not have self control, let them marry,' 2 he wants marriage 
to be a remedy, as you also do, against the disease of con- 
cupiscence, which fact you do not accept, though you say there 
must be a remedy for it. 3 This remedy does not produce 
concupiscence where it does not exist, but restrains it from 
issuing forth into unlawful acts. We can make use of the 
petition we make in the Lord's Prayer here, too: 'Lead us 
not into temptation,' because 'Everyone is tempted by his 
own concupiscence,' 4 as the Apostle James says, although 
we pray: 'Deliver us from evil.' 5 The married pray that, 
delivered from evil in their mind, they may use properly 
the evil in their flesh (since they know that in their flesh 
no good dwells 6 ), so that afterwards, when all corruptibility 
has been healed, all evil will be consumed. Why do you 
triumph as over a defeated enemy? Conquer, rather, the 
internal enemy you praise, for my victory over you is certain 
while the evil is fighting on your side. You dare not say that 
he who stands for the true is defeated by him who supports 
the false. I say the concupiscence against which you fight is 
evil; you say it is good. Your warfare admits the evil your 
tongue deceitfully calls good, and you add one lie to another 
by claiming that I also say it is good. I could not have called 
good that concupiscence of the flesh which the Apostle John 
said is not from the Father, 7 but I call conjugal modesty 

2 1 Cor. 7.9. 

3 See above, p. 133. 

4 James 1.14. 

5 Matt. 6.13. 

6 Cf. Rom. 7.18. 

7 Cf. 1 John 2.16. 


good which resists the evil of concupiscence lest, when aroused, 
it draw men to unlawful acts. 

(7) But, realizing how shallow your argument is, you, 
not I, 'pounce upon the other part of the statement,' and 
say : 'If the reproductive heat, the minister of conjugal honor, 
is withheld from immoderate acts by the effort of the faithful 
as well as by the power of the gift, and if it is not extinguished, 
but restrained through grace, it is acceptable in its own kind 
and its own mode, and is censurable only in its excesses.' 
In making these assertions you fail to notice the reason why 
the union of the married for the purpose of generating is a 
praiseworthy good, namely, that it sets a lawful limit for the 
evil of concupiscence. Why is it not better to admit that it is 
evil, even if there is no consent to it, and that it will be so until 
we come to where it is no longer found? Let us not try to think 
what good may come from the concupiscence of the flesh, but 
what evil it produces. For conjugal modesty permits the lawful 
and restrains the unlawful to that eager concupiscence 
which is always seeking pleasure. This is good ; not a goodness 
of concupiscence, but the goodness of him who uses concu- 
piscence well. What concupiscence itself does is evil, whether 
the goal for which it burns is the lawful or the unlawful. This 
is the evil which conjugal modesty uses well, and which 
virginal continency uses better by refraining from its use. 

(8) You say: 'If the reproductive heat were something 
naturally evil, it would be something to eradicate, not to 
quiet.' See how you do not want to speak of restraint, as 
before, but prefer to talk about quieting. You are aware 
that no one would restrain it unless he warred against it; 
by changing the word, your fear has admitted the evil which 
wais against the good. You call it reproductive heat because 
you are ashamed to call it lust, or, as sacred writing usually 
calls it, the concupiscence of the flesh. You should say, 'If 
the concupiscence of the flesh were naturally evil, it should 


be eradicated, not quieted.' In this way those who know only 
everyday language can at last understand what you are say- 
ing. But you speak as though all whose reason for marrying is 
that, not bearing the effort involved in the kind of continency 
by which the evil is resisted, they choose rather to use the evil 
well than to do better by refraining from its use, would not 
prefer to eradicate concupiscence if they could. But if in the 
body of this death this evil necessary for the married because 
the good of generation cannot exist without it, then let celibates 
eradicate the concupiscence of the flesh. You yourself, who talk 
and do not attend to what you are saying, ought to eradicate 
lust in your members. It is not necessary for you, nor are its 
desires good, for if you consent or yield to them you will 

(9) Indeed, if that in yon against which you fight, which 
you oppose, and which you expel when you overcome it is 
evil, then it were better for you to refrain from using the 
evil they use well, they in whom you hold it is a good. Here 
you are either lying or mistaken, since you arc not going to 
say lust is good in the married but evil in holy virgins and 
celibates. We note that you have already said: 'He who 
follows the moderated way of natural concupiscence is using 
a good thing well; he who does not follow this way is using a 
good thing badly. But he who despises even the moderated 
way, out of love of holy virginity, does better in refraining from 
use of a good; for, confident of his own health and strength, 
he despises the remedies, for the opportunity to engage in 
glorious combats.' With this you declare unambiguously that 
concupiscence of the flesh exists in both the married and 
the celibate; you say it is a good which the married use 
well and which celibates use better by refraining from its 
use. I say it is an evil. But in holy virgins and celibates the 
concupiscence of the flesh reveals itself as an evil, since, as you 


say, they 'engage in glorious combats' against it; hence, they 
do better by refraining from use, not of a good, but of an 
evil. The same applies to the married use, and it is not a good 
they are using. The whole dispute (if there is any dispute) 
concerns the question whether, in those who have vowed 
celibacy to God, the concupiscence of the flesh about which 
we are arguing is something good or evil. What is true for 
celibates is also true for the married, because celibates do 
better in refraining entirely from the use of what the married 
use well. Therefore, with all the power of your penetrating 
intellect and open mind, answer, if you can, that the thing 
against which 'the legion of Apostles warred,' as you ad- 
mitted in the foregoing book, is good; that is, when you 
reproached me as though I said: The forces of lust are so 
great that not even the legion of the Apostles warred against 
it.' This admission would be rather in my favor, because a 
legion, not of just any saints, but of the Apostles themselves 
warred against that evil which you say is good. Who would 
have believed this evil would have an encomiast from the 
very ranks of its attackers? God forbid that it enlist one of 
ancient times, or an Apostle, or saint. But, remarkably, there 
is at least one of the new heretics who inexplicably professes 
himself to be two things at once that is, an adversary and 
also a defender of lust; a man who, remaining in the Pelagian 
heresy, tries to show that he gives heartful praise to the very 
thing, which, if not expelled, destroys his heart and soul, and, 
at the same time, that he is expelling from his soul the thing 
which, unless praised, would nullify his own teaching, 

(10) I ask you, as a human being, whether sin is evil, yet 
the desire to sin is good? What does concupiscence arouse in 
the flesh of celibates except desires to commit sin and by 
not consenting to them they 'engage in glorious combats,' as 
you admit? For one who professes celibacy, even the desire 


for the act of marriage is evil. What does it do there, where 
whatever it does is evil, and if there is consent to it, what does 
it bring to completion? What does concupiscence accomplish 
there, where nothing good is sought by means of it? It is said 
to exist in the married without unseemliness since, if they at- 
tain the loftiest height of conjugal modesty, they accomplish 
something good through it, although they do nothing for its 
sake. I ask you : What does the protege of your folly, your ad- 
versary in your wisdom, accomplish where of itself it never 
accomplishes any good and no good comes from it? What 
does it accomplish in those in whom whatever is desired ac- 
cording to it is evil? What does it accomplish in those whom 
it compels to watch and to war against it; where, if any 
assent is wrested from them even in sleep, they upon waking 
say with sigh after sigh, 'How my soul is filled with illusions'? 8 
When dreams delude the sleeping senses, even the chaste 
fall into base assents I know not how. If the Most High 
were to impute such assents to us, who could live chastely? 
(11)1 speak, then, about the evil which you will not call 
good unless you grow so deaf to every sounding truth that you 
proclaim It is good to desire evil; something you would not 
even proclaim among the deaf. Why, you ask, is not the evil 
eradicated from the flesh of celibates? Why is not 'the whole 
thing removed by the power of the mind'? You say that 'this 
would have to be done, if it were evil.' Because it is not 
eradicated in the married, where there is, however, neces- 
sary restriction of it, you think that it is good, although you 
note that it remains where there is not even a restricted use of 
it, and to the extent of its remaining is harmful not to such 
an extent as to deprive one of holiness if he consents not to it, 
yet diminishing spiritual delight of holy souls, of which the 
Apostle says: 'I am delighted with the law of God, according 

8 Ps. 36.8. 

9 Rom. 7.22. 


to the inner man.' 9 Such delight is surely diminished when 
the soul, even if not following concupiscence for carnal 
pleasure, but, rather, opposing it, is engaged in glorious 
combats which themselves keep it from delight in intellectual 
beauty. Since in our present state of misery pride is a worse 
enemy, calling for continual care, we venture to say that 
perhaps concupiscence is not wholly extinguished in the 
flesh of holy celibates in order that, while the soul is fighting 
against concupiscence, it may be mindful of its dangers and 
thus escape a false security. This must continue until it 
attains that perfection of sanctity where it is no longer 
disturbed by the thought or the swelling of pride. 'For 
strength is made perfect in weakness' 10 and fighting is of 
weakness. The more easily one conquers, the less one needs 
combat. But who would fight within himself if there were no 
opposition from self? And why is there opposition from self if 
nothing remains in us to be healed and cured? Therefore, the 
sole cause of our fighting is weakness in ourselves. Again, 
weakness cautions against pride. Truly, that strength and 
virtue by which a man is not proud in this life where he 
could be proud is made perfect in weakness. 

(12) This is why we say the married use well what celibates 
do better by not using. Hence, the evil which the married 
use well exists in them, since they use it well, and it exists 
also in celibates, since they do better by refraining from its 
use. It exists in them so that they may not become proud. 
Only the excesses of lust are censurable' that is, in him 
who lacks restraint they are censurable but concupiscence 
of itself is censurable in its very movement and must be op- 
posed lest there be excess. It is not true that 'Modesty about 
a matter which is harmful of its very nature does not promote 
innocence.' But not to consent to evil does in fact promote 
innocence, nor can we therefore say the thing to which consent 

10 2 Cor. 12.9. 


is denied is not evil. It is unquestionably evil, since not to 
consent to it is good. What evil would a man commit if he 
consented to a concupiscence which were good, when, as 
it is, he commits no evil when by the conjugal act, and that 
not without the evil of concupiscence, he sows a man, the good 
work of God? You could not say that 'Lust produces the seed.' 
He who creates the seed of man creates man from seed; but 
the whence makes a difference. There are hidden and fearful 
contagions of this evil, even though regeneration has rescued 
some men from the crime of it, just as those born from 
them must be rescued. 

(13) I truly said what you quote from me about conjugal 
modesty, and I do not regret it: 'Since these gifts are de- 
monstrably from God, we learn from whom we ought to ask 
them if We do not have them, and whom we should thank 
when we have them/ We give thanks, not 'for the origination 
of concupiscence,' as you say, since its origination is man's 
first evil, 'but for its regulation.' This you admit to be true, 
since you mention both of them: 'either its origination or 
its regulation.' Therefore, we give thanks for the regulation 
of concupiscence because it is overcome as it resists. But that 
which resists a good will is not good. Who would deny this 
to be evil except he who does not have that good will which 
he acknowledges is attacked only by evil? 

Chapter 3 

(14) You quote other passages from my book where, after 
stating that conjugal modesty is a gift of God and teaching 
it by the testimony of the Apostle, I did not wish to overlook 
the question arising as to what we should say about some 
of the ungodly, who also seem to live chastely with their 


spouses. 1 For you, who deny that the virtues by which a 
man lives rightly are gifts of God, and attribute them to 
human nature and will, not to the grace of God, are accus- 
tomed to argue that unbelievers sometimes have these virtues; 
in this way you try to nullify our assertion that no one lives 
rightly except by faith through Jesus Christ our Lord, the 
one Mediator of God and men, and thus you most plainly 
profess yourselves His adversaries. Let us not get too far 
afield; we shall see whether I am mistaken, by what you say 
to these statements. I wrote: 'He who does not keep the 
faith of marriage with his wife, and do so for the sake of 
the true God, cannot truthfully be called chaste.' I added 
the way in which I showed this to be true, and the proof 
seemed to be an important evidence. 'Since modesty is a virtue 
whose contrary evil is immodesty, and since all the virtues, 
even those which function through the body, dwell in the soul, 
by what true reason may a body be called modest when the 
soul itself is disloyal to the true God?' Then, lest one of you 
deny that the soul of an unbeliever is disloyal, I gave testi- 
mony from the holy Scripture : 'Behold, they that go far from 
thee shall perish; thou hast destroyed all them that are dis- 
loyal to thee.' 2 But you, who, as you say, 'intend to pursue 
all the arguments I thought pointed,' passed over this one 
completely, as though I considered it dull. You must decide 
which premiss you will deny. You most readily confess that 
conjugal modesty is a virtue. You do not deny that all 
virtues, even those which function through the body, dwell 
in the soul. He who openly professes enmity to holy Scripture 
can deny that the soul of an unbeliever is disloyal to God. 
From all this we conclude either that true modesty can 
exist in the soul of one disloyal you see how absurd this is 
or that there cannot be true modesty in the soul of an un- 

1 DC nuptiis 1.4. 

2 Ps. 72.27. 


believer; yet when I state this, you pretend to be deaf. I 
do not, then, according to your slander, 'praise the gifts 
with the purpose of reviling the substance.' The substance 
of man would not be capable of the divine gifts unless 
it were good; the very faults of that substance testify to its 
natural good, for a fault is displeasing in proportion as it 
detracts from or diminishes what is pleasing in the nature. 

(15) Therefore, when a man is divinely aided, not only 
is he 'given aid towards obtaining perfection,' as you your- 
self have written, thereby implying that a man by himself, 
without grace, can begin that which grace makes perfect, al- 
though we had better repeat the Apostle's words that He 
who has begun a good work in you will keep bringing it to 
perfection until the end. 6 You want a man to glory, not in the 
Lord, but in his own free will, for you want him to be 'aroused 
by the stirrings of a noble heart to what is praiseworthy,' so 
that he would first give, that recompense should be made 
him, and in this way grace would no longer be grace, 4 
because it is not gratuitous. You say: 'The nature of man, 
which merits the assistance of this grace, is good.' I would 
gratefully accept this if you said that this is because man's 
nature is rational, for the grace of God through Jesus Christ 
our Lord is not given to stones or sticks or cattle. Man as 
the image of God merits this grace: not because the good 
will of man comes first, without grace, and thus there is 
something prior to grace and calling for reward, and then 
grace would no longer be grace, not given as gratuitous, but as 
something due. Why did you decide, in your usual manner, 
that I 'locate the divine gifts in the effectiveness of the will,' 
as though the will of man could be moved toward good 
without the grace of God, and thus God would repay man by 
giving him the effectiveness of will. Have you forgotten what 

3 Cf. Phil. 1.6. 

4 Cf. Rom. 11.33,6. 


we quoted against you from Scripture: 'The will is prepared 
by the Lord,' 5 or that God works in us also the will? Ingrates 
to the grace of God ! Enemies to the grace of Christ, and to 
the very name of Christian! Does not the Church pray for 
her enemies? I ask you: What does she pray for? If she 
prays that they be repaid by their own will's being made 
effective, they will receive great punishment. What is against 
them is not for them. But she prays for them. Thus, she 
does not pray for them because their will is good. She prays 
that the bad will may be changed to a good will, for, as the 
Apostle says: The will is prepared by the Lord' and 'It is 
God who works in you also the will.' 6 

(16) Most bitter enemies of grace, you offer us examples 
of ungodly men who, you say, 'though without faith, abound 
in virtues where there is, without the aid of grace, only 
the good of nature even though shackled by superstitions. 
Such men, by the mere powers of their inborn liberty, are 
often merciful, and modest, and chaste, and sober. 5 When 
you say this you have already removed what you thought to 
attribute to the grace of God: namely, effectiveness of will. 
You do not say those men will to be merciful, modest, chaste, 
sober, and are not such because they have not obtained 
through grace the effectiveness of their will. If they both 
will to be such and actually are such, we already find in 
them both will and effectiveness of will. What, then, is left 
for grace in those clearly evident virtues in which you 
say they abound? If it pleases you so much to praise the 
ungodly that you say they abound in true virtues as though 
you did not hear Scripture saying: 'They that say to the 
wicked man: thou art just, shall be accursed by the people, 
and the tribes shall abhor them' 7 it were much better for 

5 Prov. 8 (Septuagint) . 

6 Phil. 2.13. 

7 Prov. 24.24. 


you, who say they abound in virtues, to confess that these 
are gifts of God in them. Under His hidden judgment, which 
is not unjust, some men are born feeble-minded; some, slow- 
witted and dull in understanding. Some have both gifts, 
being keen-witted and able to store up what they learn in 
the treasury of a very tenacious memory. Some are gentle 
by nature; others are easily aroused to anger for slight causes; 
while others are in between in respect to seeking revenge. 
Some are eunuchs; some are so cold they can scarcely be 
quickened ; some are so lustful they can scarcely be restrained ; 
and some are in between, both easily moved and languid. 
Some are very timid; others, very daring; others, neither. 
Some are joyful; others, melancholy; others are inclined to 
neither. None of the things I have mentioned arises from 
institution or design, but from nature, so that medical writers 
dare attribute them to bodily constitution. Whatever the 
solution after thorough investigation, even if all possible ques- 
tions had been solved, we could still ask whether every man 
made his body for himself, and whether these natural evils 
he endures in greater or lesser degree must be attributed to 
his will. No one, in any way or for any reason, can escape 
suffering them in this life. Let the suffering be the greatest 
or the least, no one has a right to say to Him who made him, 
though He is omnipotent, just, and good: 'Why hast thou 
made me thus?' 8 And no one but the second Adam delivers 
man from the heavy yoke which lies upon the children of the 
first Adam. 9 How much more tolerable, then, to attribute 
what you say are virtues in the ungodly to the divine gift 
rather than only to their will; although they are ignorant 
of this until, if they are of the number of the predestined, 

8 Isa. 45.9; Rom. 9.20. 

9 Cf. Ecdi.40.1. 


they receive the spirit which is from God and thus come to 
know the things given them by God. 10 

(17) But God forbid there be true virtues in anyone 
unless he is just, 11 and God forbid he be truly just unless 
he lives by faith, for 'He who is just lives by faith.' 12 Who 
of those wishing to be considered Christians, except the 
Pelagians alone, or, perhaps, you alone among the Pelagians, 
will call an unbeliever just, and an ungodly man just, and 
say a just man is in bondage to the Devil? whether he 
be Fabricius, whether he be Scipio, whether he be Regulus, 
whose names you thought would frighten me, as though we 
were speaking before the ancient court of Rome. You may 
also appeal to the school of Pythagoras, or that of Plato, 
where the most erudite and learned in a philosophy far ex- 
celling the others in nobility said there are not true virtues 
except those in some way impressed on the mind by the 
form of the eternal and unchangeable substance which is 
God. In spite of this, I proclaim against you with all my 
divinely given liberty of godliness: True justice is not in 
those men' and 'He who is just lives by faith, faith comes 
from hearing, and hearing is by the word of Christ. For 
Christ is the consummation of the Law unto justice for every- 
one who believes.' 13 How are those men just to whom the 
humility of the truly just is common? Pride kept them from 
following their understanding, 'Seeing that, although they 
knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give thanks, 
but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless 

10 Cf. 1 Cor. 2.12 

11 Augustine's doctrine that virtue is not true virtue unless it is informed 
by faith is stated more rigidly here than elsewhere; it is a simple 
logical deduction from the truths that none is saved without baptism, 
and that God does not condemn what is good. Cf. St. Thomas' 
explanation of Augustine's meaning, especially in Summa theologica, 
2-2, q. 23, a. 7. 

12 Rom. 1.17 

13 Rom. 10.4,17. 


minds have been darkened. For while professing to be wise, 
they became fools. 514 How can true justice be in those in 
whom there is not true wisdom? If you attribute true wisdom 
to them, there will be no reason for not saying they arrive 
at the kingdom of which it is written : 'The desire of wisdom 
bringeth to the kingdom.' 15 Therefore, Christ died in vain 
if men without the faith of Christ through other means or 
power of reasoning may arrive at true faith, at true virtue, 
at true justice, at true wisdom. As the Apostle most truly 
says about the Law: 'If justice is by the law, then Christ died 
in vain;' 16 it is also most true to say that, if. justice is by 
nature and the will, then Christ died in vain. If any justice 
whatsoever is given through the teaching of men, then Christ 
died in vain, for what gives true justice also gives the king- 
dom of God. God Himself would be unjust if the truly just 
were not admitted to His kingdom, since the kingdom itself 
is justice, as it is written: 'Ihe kingdom of God does not 
consist in food and drink, but in justice and peace and joy;' 17 
and if the justice of the ungodly is not true justice, then 
whichever they have of the virtues allied with it are not true 
virtues (because failure to refer the gifts of God to their 
Author makes the evil men using them unjust) ; thus, neither 
the continence of the ungodly nor their modesty is true virtue. 
(18) But you misinterpret the Apostle's words that 'Every- 
one in a contest abstains from all things,' 18 when you assert 
that flute-players and other common and infamous persons 
have continence, which Scripture says is so great a virtue 
that none can have continence except God give it. 19 When 

14 Rom. 1.21,22. 

15 Wisd. 6.21. 

16 Gal. 2.21. 

17 Rom. 14.17. 

18 1 Cor. 9.25. 

19 Cf. Wisd. 8.21. 


those persons are entered in a contest they exercise restraint 
because of vain coveting of the crown. This vain, depraved, 
coveting prevails in them, and restrains other depraved 
coverings; for which reason they were said to be continent. 
But you, to the grave injury of the Scipios, have also given 
to stage-players the continence you praised so eloquently 
in them, forgetting that, when the Apostle exhorted men 
to virtue, he used a faulty human affection as an illustration; 
further, another passage of Scripture exhorting us to love 
of wisdom says it should be sought after like money. 20 
Must we therefore think holy Scripture praises avarice? It 
is well known to what great efforts and pains lovers of 
money will patiently subject themselves, from what great 
pleasures they abstain, in their desire to increase their 
wealth or in their fear of diminishing it; with what great 
shrewdness they pursue gain, and how prudently they avoid 
losses; how they are usually afraid to take the property of 
others, and sometimes despise loss to themselves lest they 
lose more in its quest and litigation. Because these traits 
are well known, it is right for us to be exhorted so to love 
wisdom that we most eagerly seek it as our treasure, acquire 
more and more of it, suffer many trials, restrain desires, 
ponder the future, so that we may preserve innocence and 
beneficence. Whenever we act in this way we are in possession 
of true virtues, because our objective is true, that is, is in 
harmony with our nature in reference to salvation and true 

(19) Virtue is not absurdly defined by those who say: 
'Virtue is a habit of the soul, in harmony with reason and 
with the mean of nature.' 21 That is true, but they did not 
know what is in harmony with the nature of mortals as 

20 Cf. Prov. 2,4. 

21 Cicero, De inventione 2 


that nature is to be freed and made happy. Not all men, 
by a mere natural instinct, would wish to be immortal and 
happy unless they could attain it. This highest good can 
come to men only through Christ, and Him crucified; by 
whose death death itself is conquered, and by whose wounds 
our nature is healed. Therefore, the just man lives by the 
faith of Christ. For by this faith he lives prudently, coura- 
geously, temperately, justly, and, thereby, correctly and 
wisely in all these virtues because he lives according to faith. 
If virtues do not help man to achieve that true happiness 
which true faith in Christ promises us as immortal, they 
can by no means be true virtues. Would it please you if 
we said the virtues of misers are true virtues, when they 
prudently ponder the ways of profit, courageously bear cruel 
and bitter experiences for the acquisition of money, temper- 
ately and soberly chastise the various desires in which a 
man revels; when they do not take the property of others 
and often scorn what they have lost of their own something 
which seems to pertain to justice and this they do lest they 
lose more of their own property in drawn out law suits? 
When something is done prudently, courageously, temper- 
ately, and justly, we have all four of the virtues which on 
your argument are true virtues, that is, they are true if we 
regard only what is done and not why is is done. Lest I 
slander you, I shall quote your own words. You say: 'The 
origin of all virtue is located in the rational soul, and all 
the affections through which we are good effectively or 
ineffectively are in our mind as in their subject; they are 
prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. Although the 
power for these affections is in all men by nature, they do 
not conspire to one end in all men, but, in accordance with 
the judgment of the will, to which they are subject, they 
are directed to either eternal or temporal things. When this 
happens they do not vary in what they are, nor in what 


they do, but only in what they deserve. Neither their name 
nor their kind can be dispensed with; they vary only between 
enrichment, when they seek a great reward, and frustration, 
if their quest is slight.' I do not know where you learned 
these things, but I believe you see even now that as a conse- 
quence we would have to regard as true virtue the prudence 
by which misers ponder the various kinds of profit; and 
the justice by which they sometimes, in fear of more serious 
loss of their own property, despise it; and the temperance by 
which they restrain their appetite for luxury, because it is 
costly, and are content with only the necessary food and 
clothing; and the fortitude by which, as Horace says: 
'Through oceans they go fleeing poverty; through rocks and 
through fire'; 22 and by which, as we know, some of them 
in the barbarian invasion could not be forced by any of 
the enemy's tortures to betray what they possessed. There- 
fore, these virtues which are so debased and deformed for 
such an end, and hence in no way genuine and true virtues, 
seem to you to be so true and beautiful 'that neither their 
name nor their kind can be dispensed with, but only the 
frustration resulting from the meagerness of their quest,' 
that is, judged by the fruit of earthly advantages, not of 
heavenly rewards. And the justice of Catiline will be none 
other than true justice: to hold many in friendship; to 
protect them by service; to share possessions with all; his 
fortitude will be true fortitude, which was able to endure 
cold hunger, and thirst; his patience will be true patience, 
which was incredibly enduring in fasting, in cold, and in 
vigil. 23 Who but the foolish could be wise in this fashion? 
(20) But we see that you, a scholarly man, are deceived 
by the resemblance of these vices to the true; they seem 
near to virtues, neighboring on them, although they are 

22 Horace, Epistolae 1.1.46. 

23 Sallust, De Catilinae conjurations 15. 


as far from them as vices are from virtues. Constancy is 
a virtue whose contrary is inconstancy; there is, however, a 
vice bordering on it, so to speak stubbornness, which seems 
to imitate constancy. May you be wanting in this vice when 
you recognize that what I say is true; lest, as though loving 
constancy, you might think you must persist stubbornly in 
error. Thus, not only are there vices contrary to the virtues, 
and plainly distinct from them as rashness is contrary to 
prudence but there are also vices which somehow border 
on the virtues, being similar, not in truth, but by a deceptive 
appearance. As a kind of neighbor to prudence we find, not 
rashness or imprudence, but cleverness, which is never- 
theless a vice although the words of Scripture: 'Wise as 
serpents,' 24 should be taken in good sense, while the words 
that in paradise 'The serpent was more cunning than any 
of the beasts,' 25 are taken in a bad sense. It is not easy 
to find names for all these vices which border on virtues, 
but, even if we cannot call them by name, we must beware 
of them. 

(21) You know that virtues must be distinguished from 
vices, not by their functions, but by their ends. The function 
is that which is to be done; the end is that for which it is 
to be done. When a man does something in which he does 
not seem to sin, yet does not do it because of that for which 
he ought to do it, he is guilty of sinning. Not heeding this 
fact, you separated the ends from the functions and said 
that the functions, apart from the ends, should be called 
true virtues, and in consequence you involved yourself in 
such absurdities that you were obliged to call even that 
whose mistress is avarice true justice. If you think only of 
the function, then refusing to take another's property can 
look like justice. But, when someone asks why it is done, 

24 Matt. 10.16. 

25 Gen. 3.1. 


and the answer is: 'In order not to lose more money in 
contention/ how could this work, serving avarice, belong to 
true justice? The virtues Epicurus introduced as handmaids 
of pleasure are such that they do whatever they do for the 
sake of obtaining or possessing pleasure. God forbid that 
true virtues serve anyone but Him to whom we say: 'Lord 
of virtues, convert us.' 26 Therefore, virtues which serve carnal 
pleasure or any temporal advantages or emoluments cannot 
be true. But virtues that render no service to anything are 
not true virtues. True virtues in men serve God, by whom 
they are given to men; true virtues in angels serve God, by 
whom they are also given to angels. Whatever good is done by 
man, yet is not done for the purpose for which true wisdom 
commands it be done, may seem good from its function, but, 
because the end is not right, it is sin. 

(22) Therefore, certain good acts can be done when 
those who do them are not doing well. It is good to help a 
man in danger, especially an innocent man. But, if a man 
acts loving the glory of men more than the glory of God, 
he does a good thing not in good way, because he is not 
good when his act is not done in a good way. God forbid 
that a will be or be said to be good when it glories in others, 
or in itself, and not in the Lord. Neither may its fruit be 
said to be good, since a bad tree does not produce good 
fruit; rather, the good work belongs to Him who acts well 
even through evil men. Thus, it is impossible to say how 
mistaken is your opinion that 'All virtues are affections 
through which we are good either effectively or ineffectively. 3 
It cannot be that we are ineffectively good, but, whatever we 
are ineffectively, we are not good from that aspect, since 
a good tree bears good fruit. Never be it said that the good 
God, by whom the axe is prepared for trees not bringing 

26 PS. 79.8, 


forth good fruit, to be cut down and thrown into the fire, 
prepares the axe for good trees. 27 By no means, then, are men 
good ineffectively; but, of those who are not good, some 
are less evil and some are more evil. 

(23) I do not see how it helps you to recall the people 
described in the Apostle's words: The Gentiles who have 
not the Law are a law to themselves, who show the work 
of the Law written in their hearts.' By means of these 
Gentiles you tried to prove that even those who are strangers 
to the faith of Christ can have true justice, for the Apostle 
says they 'do by nature what the Law prescribes.' In this 
passage you have clearly expressed the teaching by which 
you are enemies to the grace of God which is given through 
Jesus Christ our Lord, who takes away the sin of the 
world. 28 You introduce a race of men who can please God 
by the law of nature without the faith of Christ. This is the 
chief reason why the Christian Church detests you. But what 
do you want them to be? Are they to have true virtues and to 
be only ineffectively good because it is not for the sake 
of God? Or are some of them to please God and be rewarded 
by Him with eternal life? If you say they are ineffective, 
then of what use is it to them that, according to the Apostle, 
their own thoughts will defend them 'on the day when God 
will judge the hidden secrets of men'? 29 But if those whose 
own thoughts defend them are not ineffectively good, since 
they naturally do the work of the Law, and for this reason 
receive eternal recompense from God, then undeniably the 
reason they are just is that they live by faith. 

(24) The testimony I cited from the Apostle 'All that is 
not from faith is sin' you received as you pleased, and 
you did not expound it as it savors, but as you savor it. The 

27 Cf. Matt. 7.17,18; 3.10. 

28 John 1729. 

29 Rom. 2.14-16. 


Apostle was talking first about food, but when he said: 'He 
who hesitates, if he eats, is condemned, because it is not 
from faith, 5 he wished to make a general statement about 
the kind of sin in question, concluding immediately, Tor all 
that is not from faith is sin.' 30 But I shall grant you that 
it should be understood only of food. What about the other 
testimony I cited in the same passage, which you did not 
challenge because you found no way to distort it to your 
point of view? I cited from the Hebrews: Tor without 
faith it is impossible to please God.' 31 In arriving at this 
statement, Paul discussed the entire life of man, in which the 
just man lives by faith; and, though it is impossible to 
please God without faith, virtues without faith please you, 
so that you say they are true virtues, and that they make 
men good. 32 Then, again, as though you regret praising 
them, you do not hesitate to call them ineffective. 

(25) Thus, those who are just by the natural law please 
God and please by faith, because without faith it is impos- 
sible to please God and by what faith do they please except 
by the faith of Christ? As we read in the Acts of the Apostles: 
'In him God has defined the faith for all, by raising him 
from the dead. 533 The reason they are said to do by nature 
the works of the Law without the Law is that they came 
to the Gospel from the Gentiles, not from the circumcision, 
to which the Law was given; they came by nature, because, 
that they might believe, their very nature was corrected 
through the grace of God. You cannot prove through them 
what you wish to prove that even unbelievers can have 
true virtues for those men are believers. If they have not 

SO Rom. 14.23. 

31 Heb. 11.6. 

32 Cf. above, note 11. Augustine corrects the harsh impression produced 
by the first statement of this proposition, especially when he explains 
the good works of unbelievers, and asserts there are various degrees 
of eternal punishments. 

33 Acts 17.31 


the faith of Christ, then they are neither just nor pleasing 
to God, since without faith it is impossible to please God. 
Their thoughts will defend them on the day of judgment 
thus: that they may receive a more tolerable punishment, 
because in some way they did naturally the works of the 
Law, having the work of the Law written in the hearts to 
the extent that they did not do to others what they did not 
want done to themselves. But those men without faith sinned 
in that they did not refer their works to the end to which they 
should be referred. Fabricius will be punished less than Cati- 
line, not because Fabricius was good, but because Catiline 
was more evil. Fabricius was less wicked than Catiline, not 
because he had true virtues, but because he did not deviate 
so much from the true virtues. 

( 26 ) Perhaps you will provide a place between damnation 
and the kingdom of heaven where even those who did not 
please God, whom it is impossible to please without faith, 
a faith they had neither in their works nor in their hearts, 
will exist, not in misery, but in everlasting beatitude? Do you 
envisage such a place for men who have shown a Babylonian 
love for their earthly fatherland, serving demons or human 
glory by civic virtue, which is not true virtue but resembles 
true virtue for the Fabricii, the Reguli, the Fabii, the 
Scipios, the Camilii, and others like them 34 as you do for 
infants who die without baptism? I do not believe your own 
state of destruction can flaunt this imprudence. You ask: 'Will 
those, then, in whom there was true justice be in everlasting 
damnation?' Words beyond impudence! There was not true 
justice in them, as I declared, because functions should not 
be weighed by the mere acts, but by their ends. 

(27) With grace and wit, you, a very elegant and urbane 
gentleman, assert: 'If it be maintained that the chastity of 

34 These men were Roman patriots, beloved by their countrymen, and 
distinguished by their lives and accomplishments. 


unbelievers is not chastity, then for the same reason it must 
be said that the body of pagans is not a true body, and the 
eyes of pagans have not the sense of sight, and the crops 
growing in pagans' fields are not true crops, and many other 
consequences so absurd they could move an intelligent 
man to laughter.' Your laughter will move intelligent men, 
not to laughter, but to tears, as the laughter of the insane 
moves their sane friends to weeping. Do you deny, contrary 
to holy Scripture, that the soul of an unbeliever commits 
fornication; and do you laugh, and are you sane? Whence, 
how, and by what reason could this take place? This is 
neither true chastity nor true sanity. Indeed, I say, the 
chastity of the soul committing fornication is not true chastity, 
and the insanity of a man who in laughter says this shameful 
thing is true insanity. Far be it from us to say the body of 
pagans is not a true body, and all the rest. It does not 
follow that if the virtue in which an ungodly man glories is 
not true virtue, the body God makes is not a true body. We 
can clearly state that the brow of heretics is no brow, if we 
mean, not the member God made, but shame. What if I 
did not anticipate in my book your interpreting the words, 
'All that is not from faith is sin,' to include even those things 
of unbelievers which are gifts of God, whether they are goods 
of the soul or of the body? It is there we find the things 
about which you vainly babble: body, eyes, and the other 
members. The crops growing in pagan's fields are also of 
this kind. Their creator is God, not the pagans. Did you not 
quote with the rest of my words the statement : Tor the soul 
and body, and whatever good of soul and body are natural 
to man, are gifts of God, even in sinners, because God, not 
they, made them'? The words, 'All that is not from faith 
is sin,' concern what sinners themselves do.' 35 If you had 
remembered this short but clear statement of mine, I do not 

35 DC nuptiis 1.4. 


think you would have been so dishonest as to assert we could 
say: 'The body of pagans is not a body, and the eyes of 
pagans do not have the sense of sight, and the crops growing 
in pagans' fields are not crops.' Let me repeat these words 
of mine to you as though you had just awakened from sleep, 
since they may have slipped your mind. I said: These are 
gifts of God, even in sinners, because God, not they, made 
them. The words, "All that is not from faith is sin," concern 
what sinners themselves do.' When you make insane remarks 
and laugh, you behave like a lunatic, but, when you pay 
no attention and forget truths which, as I say, I stated just 
a short time before, and placed in the very work in which 
you seem to be answering me, then you resemble a sluggard 
more than a lunatic. 

(28) You say you marvel 'that one so outstanding' 
meaning me, and by way of ridicule 'does not see how much 
he helps me by asserting that some sins are conquered by 
other sins.' You go on to say: 'By all means, then, a man 
can be without sins, by his effort for holiness with God's 
help. For,' you say, 'if sins may be overcome by sins, how 
much more easily can sins be overcome by virtues? 5 This you 
say as though we would deny that the help of God is so great 
that, if He willed it, we could this day be without the evil 
concupiscences against which we must invincibly fight. Not 
even you will admit that this comes to pass, but, as to why 
it does not come to pass: 'Who knows the mind of the 
Lord?' 36 But it is not a little I know when I do know that, 
no matter what the cause, there is something in the hidden 
and lofty plan of God to explain why, as long as we live in 
this mortal flesh, there is in us something against which our 
mind must fight. This is why we say: 'Forgive us our 
trespasses.' 37 Speaking to you as man to man, and as a man 

36 Rom. 11.54. 

37 Matt. 6.12. 



'whose earthy habitation presseth down the mind that museth 
upon many things/ 38 I say that, so far as the merits of the 
divinely instituted natures are concerned, there is nothing in 
creatures more excellent than the rational mind. It follows 
that a good mind has more delight and satisfaction in itself 
than it has in any other creature. How dangerous, yes, how 
pernicious, is this self-delight, since in its exultation it may 
give rise to the fever and disease of delusion, and this danger 
exists as long as it does not see, as it will indeed see in the 
end, the supreme and unchangeable Good, in comparison 
with which it will despise itself and will become vile 
to itself through love of Him, and it will be so filled by His 
great spirit that it will prefer the supreme Good to itself, 
not only with its reason, but also in eternal love. We should 
need a long time to demonstrate this; he realizes it who 
returns to himself when worn out with hunger, and says: 'I 
will get up and go to my father/ 39 We know, then, that we 
must live under daily remission of sins, in this place of 
infirmity, so that we shall not live in pride. And when the 
evil of pride will no longer be able to tempt the soul and 
there be nothing against which we must fight, then the soul 
will be so filled with the vision of the higher Good and so 
inflamed with love of it that it could not fail in its love of 
that supreme Good and come to rest again in self-delight. On 
account of this evil of pride not even the Apostle Paul was en- 
trusted to his own free will, because he had not yet arrived at 
such perfect participation of that higher Good; and, lest he 
exalt himself, there was given him an angel of Satan to 
buffet him. 40 

(29) Whether the reason be this or something else much 
further beyond my grasp, I cannot doubt that, no matter 
how great our progress under this burden of a corruptible 

38 Wisd. 9.15. 

39 Luke 15.18. 

40 Cf. 2 Cor. 12.7. 


body, 'If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, 
and the truth is not in us.' 41 Hence, holy Church, even for 
those of her members in whom there is neither blemish of 
crime nor wrinkle of error, 42 despite your haughty opposition, 
never stops pleading with God to 'Forgive us our trespasses.' 
He who does not know your teachings is not aware of your 
immense arrogance and presumption of personal virtue when 
you say: 'By all means, then, a man can be without sins by 
his effort for sanctity, with God's help.' You wish to say that 
the effort for sanctity comes first, in man's will, without the 
help of God, and that God's aid is not gratuitous but justly 
due. Thus, you think a man can be without sins in this 
miserable life, so that he has no personal reason for saying: 
'Forgive us our trespasses.' 43 You seem to have put it a little 
more reticently, since you did not say he can be without all 
sins, yet neither did you say you meant only some sins, not 
all. You measured your statement in such a way that it could 
be defended verbally both by us and by you, as though you 
blushed for your presumption. If you are among Pelagians, 
you can say the reason you did not say only some sins is 
that a man can be without all sins. If this is discussed among 
us, you can say the reason you did not say all sins is that you 
wished us to understand that every man needs to ask pardon 
for some sins. But we who know what you mean are not 
unaware of how you mean it. 

(30) You say: 'If a Gentile clothes a naked man, is it a 
sin because it is not by faith?' In so far as it is not from 
faith it is truly sin not that the thing done, clothing the 
naked, is a sin in itself; but only an ungodly man denies that 
it is sin not to give glory to the Lord in such a work, though 
enough has already been said for you to understand. Yet, 

41 1 John 1.8. 

42 Cf. Eph. 5.27. 

43 Cf. above, pp. 83-84. 


since the matter is important, attend a little longer. Yea, I 
shall quote your very words: 'If a Gentile,' who does not 
live by faith, 'clothes a naked man, delivers someone from 
danger, binds up an injured man's wounds, gives money in 
honest friendship, or cannot be compelled to bear false 
witness even when tortured,' I ask you whether he does these 
good works well or evilly. If he does them in an evil way, 
though they are good, you cannot deny that he who does 
anything in an evil way sins, regardless of what he does. But, 
since you do not wish him to sin when he does these things, 
you will surely say that he does good and he does it well. 
Therefore, a bad tree brings forth good fruit, and, according 
to the Truth, this cannot happen. Be in no hurry to express 
an opinion, but consider your answer carefully. Would you 
call an unbeliever a good tree? Therefore, he must be 
pleasing to God, since the good must be pleasing to the Good. 
What, then, of Scripture: 'Without faith it is impossible 
to please God'? 44 Will you answer that he is a good tree, not 
in so far as he is unbelieving, but in so far as he is a man? 
Then, of whom did our Lord say: 'A bad tree cannot bear 
good fruit'? 45 for, whoever it be, it is either man or angel. 
But, if man, in so far as he is man, is a good tree, then surely 
an angel, in so far as he is an angel, is a good tree, for angels 
are the work of God who is the Creator of good natures. 
Therefore, there would be no bad tree of which it is said 
that it cannot bear good fruits. What unbeliever thinks so 
unbelievingly? Hence, it is not as man, which is the work of 
God, but as man of bad will, that someone is a bad tree and 
cannot bring forth good fruit. Would you still say an 
unbelieving will is a good will? 

(31) Perhaps you will say a merciful will is good. This 
would be correct if mercy were always good, in the way in 

44 Heb. 11.6. 

45 Matt. 7.18 


which the faith of Christ, which works through love, is always 
good. 48 But there is a mercy that is evil, which respects the 
person of the poor in judgment, 47 for which King Saul finally 
deserved to be condemned by God, yet in mercy; when, 
through human affection, but contrary to the commandment 
of God, he spared the captive king. 48 Watch carefully; it may 
well be that the only good mercy is the mercy of this good 
faith. That you may understand without reservation, answer 
whether you think unbelieving mercy is good mercy. If it is a 
fault to have mercy in an evil way, it is undeniably a fault to 
have mercy unbelievingly. In itself, mercy out of natural 
compassion is a good work, but he who uses this good work 
unbelievingly uses it in an evil way, and he who does this 
good thing unbelievingly does it in an evil way; but whoever 
does something in an evil way sins. 

(32) We gather from all this that even the good works 
of unbelievers are not good works of theirs, but are the works 
of Him who makes good use of evil men. But their sins are 
sins of theirs, by which they do good things in an evil way, 
because they do them, not with a believing but with an 
unbelieving will, that is, with a foolish and harmful will. No 
Christian doubts that a tree that can bring forth only bad 
fruit, that is, only sins, is a bad tree. For, whether you will 
or not, 'All that is not from faith is sin.' 49 Therefore, God 
cannot love those trees, and, if they remain such as they are, 
He plans to cut them down, because 'Without faith it is 
impossible to please God.' But I tarry here as though you 
yourself had not already called those trees barren. I ask you 
whether you are joking or raving when you praise the fruit 
of barren trees? Either there are no fruits, or they are evil 

46 Cf. Gal. 5.6. 

47 Cf. Exod. 23.3. 

48 1 Kings 15. 

49 Rom. 1453. 


and must not be praised; or they are good fruits and the trees 
are not barren, but those trees are good whose fruits are 
good, and they ought to please God, who cannot fail to be 
pleased with good trees. Then the Scripture, 'Without faith 
it is impossible to please God,' will be false. How does 
the last sentence cohere with the rest? 

(33) Will your answer be anything but vain words? You 
say I asserted that 'men are sometimes ineffectively good, if 
by failing to do good acts for the sake of God, they do not 
obtain eternal life from Him.' Will the just and good God 
then send good men to eternal death? I regret to note how 
many unsound consequences follow when you think such 
things, and say such things, and write them down, and 
then find fault with me because I am, not guilty of the same 
foolishness. Briefly, though you truly err in the matters them- 
selves as much as a man can err, lest I may seem to fight 
against you over mere words: Understand what our Lord 
says: 'If thy eye be evil, thy whole body will be full of 
darkness. If thy eye be sound, thy whole body will be full 
of light,' 50 and from this learn that he who does not perform 
his good works with the intention of the good faith, the 
faith that works through love, his whole body, which is as 
it were composed of the works as members, will be darkened, 
that is, full of the blackness of sin. You will at least concede 
that the works of unbelievers which seem to you to be their 
own good works do not lead them to everlasting salvation and 
the kingdom. Realize we say that this good of men, this good 
will, this good work can be conferred on no one without 
the grace of God which is given through the one Mediator 
of God and men, and only through this good can man be 
brought to the eternal gift and kingdom of God. All other 
works which seem praiseworthy among men may seem to 

50 Matt. 6.25,22. 


you to be true virtues and they may seem to be good works 
and to be carried out without any sin, but as for me, I 
know this: They were not perfomed by a good will, for 
an unbelieving and ungodly will is not a good will. You 
call these wills good trees; it suffices for me that they are 
barren with God and therefore not good. They may be fruitful 
with those for whom they are also good, relying on your 
word, your praise, and, if you like, you as planter; yet, 
whether you will or no, I shall win my point that the love 
of the world by which a man is a friend of this world is 
not from God, and that the love of enjoying any creature 
whatsoever without love of the Creator is not from God; 
but the love of God which leads one to God is only from 
God the Father through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit. 
Through this love of the Creator everyone uses even creatures 
well. Without this love of the Creator no one uses any 
creature well. This love is needed so that conjugal modesty 
may also be a beatific good ; and that the intention in carnal 
union is not the pleasure of lust but the desire for offspring. 
If, however, pleasure prevails and extorts an act for its own 
sake and not for the sake of propagating children, this sin 
will be pardonable, because of Christian marriage. 

Chapter 4 

(34)1 did not write the words you quote from me, saying : 
'The reason children are under the power of the Devil is 
that they are born of the union of bodies.' To say 'who are 
born of the union of the bodies' is not the same as to say 
'because they are born of the union of the bodies.' The 
cause of the evil here is not their being born of the union 
of bodies, since, even if human nature had not been vitiated 
by the sin of the first man, children could not have been 


generated except from the union of bodies. The reason those 
born of the union of bodies are under the power of the Devil 
before they are reborn through the Spirit is that they are 
born through that concupiscence by which the flesh lusts 
against the spirit and forces the spirit to lust against the 
flesh. 1 There would be no such combat between good and evil 
if no one had sinned. Just as there was no combat before 
man's iniquity, so there will be no combat after man's in- 

Chapter 5 

(35) You argue against my words at length: 'Because 
we are made up of elements of unequal goodness, the soul 
ought to rule over the body. The one we have in common 
with the gods; the other, with the beasts. Therefore, that 
which is better, the soul endowed with virtue, should rule 
both the members of the body and its desires.' You fail 
to observe that desires are not ruled as members are. Desires 
are evils which we restrain by reason and fight against 
with our mind; members are goods which we move by 
the decision of the will, with the exception of the reproductive 
members, although they also are the work of God and are 
good. They are called pudenda because lust has greater 
power to move them than reason, although we do not permit 
them to commit the acts to which they urge us, since we can 
easily control the other members. But, when does a man 
use his good members badly except when he consents to 
the evil desires within him? Of these desires, lust is baser 
than others, and if not resisted it commits horrible impuri- 
ties. Conjugal modesty alone uses this evil well. This lust 
is not an evil in beasts, because in them it does not 

1 Gal. 5.17. 


war against reason, which they lack. Why do you not 
believe that it could have been divinely granted to those in 
Paradise before there was sin that they might without any 
lust procreate children by tranquil action and the union or 
intercourse of the members of the body; or, at least, that 
lust in them was such that its action neither preceded nor 
exceeded the will? Or do you count it nothing to approve 
of lust unless it be approved as that which solicits the un- 
willing and even those who fight against it? This is the 
kind of lust over which the Pelagians glory, even in its strife, 
as though over a good. But the saints confess it with groaning, 
that they may be delivered from evil. 

Chapter 6 

(36) You slander me by saying that I said: 'in ridicu- 
lous contradiction, that some men derive guilt from a good 
deed, while others are holy through an evil deed,' because 
I said: 'By using the good of marriage without faith un- 
believers turn it to evil and to sin; likewise, the marriage 
of believers turns the evil of concupiscence to the use of just- 
ice.' 1 I did not say that some men derive guilt from a good 
deed, but from an evil deed in which they use goods in 
an evil way; not that some are made holy through an evil 
deed, but from a good deed in which they use evils well. 
If you are unwilling to understand or are pretending not 
to understand, do not make it difficult for others who are 
both willing and able to understand. 

1 De nuptiis 1.5. 


Chapter 7 

(37 You say: If anyone could be born with the evil, he 
could never pass to good by washing.' By the same reasoning, 
you could say that the body which is born mortal can never 
become immortal; if the second inference is false, so is the 
first. God did not create evil when He created man; rather, 
the good He created derives evil from the sin God did not 
create. He heals this evil, which He did not create, in the 
good which He did create. 

(38) We do not say: 'The demons instituted the mar- 
riage union and the seminal union of the two sexes,' or 
that 'The union of the married for the purpose of generating 
is a diabolic act,' because all these were instituted by God 
and they all could have existed without the evil of concupis- 
cence if the wound of the prevarication, from which arose 
the discord between flesh and spirit, had not been inflicted 
by the Devil. Why not consider your position, and blush 
for the garrulous loquacity from which came such wonders 
as: 'Demons seize the married in their union and prevent 
them from generating children to be freed by regeneration'? 
as though the demon, could he do what he wished, would 
not constantly suffocate ungodly adults still under the power 
of the same demon, when he sees that they have decided 
to -become Christians. It does not follow, as you imagine, 
that demons with threat and terror oppose parents as they 
generate those to be reborn, when the parents have come 
together for this very purpose, since by the creative power 
of God something is brought into being through the wound 
inflicted by the Devil, the wound in which the human race 
limps, and this offspring is to be transferred from Adam to 
Christ; but the legion of demons could not have had power 
even over the swine if Christ had not granted their request. 1 

1 Cf. Matt. 8.31,32. 


Thus, He who knew how to make a crown for martyrs from 
the very persecutions He permitted the Devil to arouse makes 
good use of every kind of evil for the advantage of the good. 
But, even in those spouses who either do not think about 
the regeneration of their children, or even detest it, the 
legitimate union of the sexes for the purpose of generating 
is a good act of marriage, for the fruit of this act is the 
orderly begetting of children, even though some parents use 
this good in an evil and sinful way, glorying over prop- 
agating ungodly offspring, or over ungodly offspring already 
propagated. Whatever be the contagion or commission of 
sin by which men are stained, in so far as they are men, 
they are good; and, because they are good, it is good that they 
are born. 

(39) It is not true that * Adultery and all manner of 
perverse carnal commerce should be committed that there 
may be offspring.' You think you can force this absurd 
conclusion on us because we say that out of the evil of lust 
marriage produces the good of offspring. This perverse and 
false conclusion can by no means be deduced from our 
true and correct judgment. Our Lord's words, 'Make friends 
for yourselves with the mammon of wickedness,' 2 do not imply 
that we ought to add to our wickedness, to commit theft 
and rapine, so that we may enlarge our mercy and thus 
care for a greater number of saintly paupers. With the 
mammon of wickedness we should make friends who 
may receive us into everlasting dwellings; and from the 
wound of sin parents should beget children to be regenerated 
into eternal life. Just as we should not enlarge our wealth 
by wickedness, adding theft, fraud, pillaging, to provide for 
a greater number of needy just friends, so we should not 
add adultery, rape, fornication to the evil with which we 
are born, so that a more numerous progeny may be born 

2 Luke 16.9. 


from this source. It is one thing to make good use of an 
evil already in existence; quite another, to give rise to a 
new evil. The one is to produce a voluntary good out of 
an evil derived from the parents; the other is to add personal 
and voluntary evils to the evil derived from the parents. 
But there is certainly a difference. Using the mammon of 
wickedness for the needy is a laudable act, but restraint 
of carnal concupiscence by the virtue of continence is more 
laudable than its use for the fruits of marriage. The evil 
of carnal concupiscence is so great that it is better to refrain 
from using it than to use it well. 

Chapter 8 

(40) Next you introduce some other words of mine, and 
say a great deal of nothing against me, repeating what I 
have already answered in earlier arguments. If I indulged 
in the same sort of repetition, where would it all end? You 
make the futile allegation often used by your adherents 
against the grace of Christ: you say that in the name of 
grace we are saying that men are made good by fatal neces- 
sity, although those who are not yet able to talk oppose 
you strongly in voice and tongue. In your lengthy efforts 
to convince men of what Pelagius condemned in his audience 
by the Palestinian bishops, namely, that 'The grace of God 
is given according to our merits, 5 you do not mention any 
merits of infants through which those adopted as sons of 
God may be distinguished from those who die without 
receiving that grace. 

(41) You calumniously assert that I say we should not 
expect any effort from the human will, since that would 
be contradictory to the passage of the Gospel where our 
Lord says: Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall 


find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone 
who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him 
who knocks, it shall be opened.' 1 Here it seems you already 
regard as merits preceding grace this asking, seeking, knocking, 
so that a due reward be given to such merits, and thus we 
speak in vain of grace, as though no grace had preceded 
and touched the heart that this blessed good might be asked 
of God, and sought of God, and that we might knock and, 
knocking, attain. In vain would it be written: 'His mercy 
shall prevent me'; 2 in vain would be bidden to pray for 
our enemies, 3 if the conversion of averse and adverse hearts 
were not the work of grace. 

(42) You cite an apostolic testimony, saying that God, 
who wishes all men to be saved and come to the knowledge 
of the truth, 4 opens to those who knock. You intend us 
to understand, by your teaching, that the reason all men 
are not saved and do not come to the knowledge of the 
truth is that they do not wish to ask, although God wishes 
to give; that they do not wish to seek, although God wishes 
to offer; that they do not wish to knock, although God 
wishes to open. By their very silence infants answer this 
notion of yours, for they neither ask, nor seek, nor knock 
actually even while they are being baptized they sometimes 
scream, spit, and struggle against it yet they receive and 
find it is opened to them, and they enter into the kingdom 
of God where they have eternal salvation and the knowledge 
of the truth. A far greater number of infants is not adopted 
for that grace by Him 'who wishes all men to be saved and 
come to the knowledge of the truth.' You cannot say to 
them : 'I would but thou wouldst not' ; 5 for, if He had willed, 

1 Matt. 7.73. 

2 Ps. 58.11. 

3 Matt. 5.41. 

4 Cf. 1 Tim. 2.4. 

5 Matt. 23.37. 


which of them who do not yet have the power to decide 
by their own will would have resisted His supremely al- 
mighty will? Then, why do we not accept the statement: 
'Who wishes all men to be saved and come to the knowledge 
of the truth,' as we accept what the same Apostle says: 
'From the justice of the one, the result is unto justification 
of life to all men 9 ? 6 For God wishes that all those to whom 
grace comes through the justice of the One unto justification 
of life be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. 
Else we may be asked : If God wishes all men to be saved and 
come to the knowledge of the truth, but they do not come 
because they do not wish to come, then why do so many 
infants dying without baptism not come to the kingdom 
of God where the knowledge of the truth is certain? Is it 
that they are not human beings, men, so that the words 
'all men* do not apply to them? Could anyone say that 
God wishes indeed, but they do not wish, they who do not 
yet know how to wish or not to wish in such matters; when 
not even the infants who die after being baptized and, 
through that grace, come to the knowledge of the truth 
which is fully certain in the kingdom of God, when not 
even these come to the kingdom because of their own wish 
to be renewed by the baptism of Christ? If the reason the 
former are not baptized is not that they do not wish, and 
the reason the latter are baptized is not that they wish, 
then why does God, who wishes all men to be saved and 
come to the knowledge of the truth, not permit so many, 
who do not resist Him by any decision of their will, to come 
into His kingdom where there is certain knowledge of the 

(43) Perhaps you will say the reason that infants should 
not be counted in the number of all those whom God 
wishes to be saved is that infants are saved according to 

6 Rom. 5.18. 


the kind of salvation you understand herein: because, you 
say, they do not contract any sin. And, thus, a still geater 
absurdity follows. You make the benevolence of God greater 
for the most ungodly and most criminal than for the most 
innocent and the most free from every stain of sin. Because 
He wishes all the former to be saved, He must also wish that 
they enter into His kingdom, since this would follow if they are 
saved; but those who are not willing among them block up 
their own way. On the other hand, God does not wish to 
admit to His kingdom that immense number of infants who 
die without baptism, who, as you hold, are not impeded 
by any sin, and who, as no one doubts, cannot resist His 
will by a contrary will. It follows, then, that he wills all 
these to be Christians, but many of them are not willing; 
and He does not will all those to be Christians, yet none 
of them is unwilling. This is abhorrent to the truth. The 
Lord knows who are His, 7 and His will is certain about 
their salvation and entrance into His kingdom. Therefore, 
the statement, 'Who wishes all men to be saved and come 
to the knowledge of the truth,' should be interpreted as 
we interpret: 'From the justice of the one, the result is 
unto justification of life to all men. 9 

(44) If you think the apostolic testimony should be ex- 
plained by saying that the word 'all' means the many who 
are justified in Christ (indeed, many others are not brought 
to life in Christ), you are answered that in the words, 'Who 
wishes all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the 
truth' the 'all' means the many whom He wishes to come 
to the grace. It is much more fitting to say this, because 
no one comes but him whom He wishes to come. 'No one can 
come to me/ the Son says, 'unless the Father who sent me 
draw him' and 'No one can come to me unless it be given 

7 Cf. 2 Tim. 2.19. 


by him by my Father.' 8 Therefore, all are saved and come 
to the knowledge of the truth at His willing it, and all come 
at His willing it. For those such as infants who do not as 
yet have the use of free will are regenerated by the will of 
Him through whose creative power they are generated; 
and those who have the actual use of free will cannot 
exercise it except through the will and assistance of Him 
by whom the will is prepared. 

(45) If you ask me why He does not change the wills 
of all who are unwilling, I shall answer: Why does He not 
adopt through the laver of regeneration all infants who will 
die, whose wills are quiescent and, therefore, not contrary? 
If you found this too profound for you to investigate, it is 
profound for both of us, in both aspects: namely, why, 
both in adults and in infants, God wishes to help one and 
does not wish to help another. Nevertheless, we hold it to 
be certain and everlastingly firm that there is no injustice 
with God, 10 so that He should condemn anyone who had 
done no wrong, and that there is goodness with God by 
which He delivers many without personal merit. In those 
He condemns we see what is due all, so that those He 
delivers may thence learn what due penalty was relaxed in 
their regard and what undue grace was given. 

(46) You do not know how to consider these matters 
as becomes Christian hearts, and it is you who say they 
happen by fate. That is your statement, not ours: 'What is 
not the result of merit is the result of fate ;' and, lest, according 
to your definition, whatever happens to men must happen 
by fate if it does not happen by merit, you do your best 
to assert both good and evil merit, lest denying merit you 

8 John 6.44,66. 

9 Cf. Prov. 8 (Septuagint) . 
10 Cf. Rom. 9.14. 


have only fate. Thus, someone can make the following 
argument against you. First, you say that, if men are given 
things without personal merit, then there must be fate. Thus, 
we must admit merit, you say, for, if there is no merit, 
there must be fate. Therefore, infants, with no personal merit, 
are baptized by fate, and enter into the kingdom by fate; 
again, infants, with no demerit, are by fate not baptized, 
and by fate do not enter into the kingdom of God. Behold, 
sucklings unable to talk convict you of asserting fate. By 
our doctrine of the demerit or desert due to vitiated origin, 
however, we say one infant enters into the kingdom of God 
by grace, because God is good; another infant deservedly 
does not enter, because God is just; there is no question 
of fate in either case, because God does what He wishes. 
But, although we know that one is condemned according 
to the judgment, and an other is delivered according to the 
mercy, of Him whose mercy and judgment we praise with 
confidence, 11 who are we to ask God why He condemns 
the one instead of the other? Shall the object moulded say 
to him who moulded it: 'Why hast thou made me thus?' 
Is not the potter master of his clay, to make from the same 
mass of vitiated and condemned origin one vessel for honor- 
able use according to mercy, and another for dishonorable 
use according to judgment? 12 He does not make both for 
honorable use, lest the nature think itself to have merited 
honor, as if guiltless; He does not make both for dishonorable 
use, that mercy may triumph over judgment. 13 Therefore, the 
condemned has no right to complain about his punishment, 
nor can the one gratuitously delivered glory proudly over his 
merit. Instead, he humbly gives thanks when he recognizes in 

11 Cf. Ps. 100.1. 

12 Cf. Rom. 9.20,21. 

13 Cf. James 2.13. 


the one required to pay the debt what under the same circum- 
stances was bestowed upon himself. 

(47) You assert that in another book I said: 'Free choice 
is denied if grace is commended; and, again, grace is denied 
if free choice is commended.' You slander me; this is not 
what I said, although because of the difficulty of this question 
it can seem and be thought that it was said. I do not object 
to giving my exact words, so that readers may see how you 
misrepresent my writings and how you take advantage of 
the incompetent or the ignorant, who mistake your loqua- 
city for argument. In the last part of my first book to St. 
Pinianus, entitled De gratia contra Pelagium, I said: 'The 
problem of free will involves distinctions so difficult to make 
that, when free choice is defended, the grace of God seems 
to be denied; and, when the grace of God is asserted, free 
choice seems to be denied.' 14 You, an honest and truthful 
man, left out some of my words and gave your own con- 
struction. I said it is difficult to understand that problem; 
I did not say it is impossible to understand it; much less 
did I say what you falsely record as my words, Tree choice 
is denied if grace is commended, and grace is denied if free 
choice is commended.' Report me correctly, and your slander 
vanishes. Put my words in their setting where I said 'seems,' 
and where I said 'it is thought,' and your deception in this 
important matter is revealed. I did not say that grace is 
denied, but that it seems grace is denied. I did not say that 
free choice is denied or lost, but that it is thought to be lost. 
And you promise that when the books themselves are exam- 
ined, the ungodliness of my statements will be laid bare 
and destroyed. Who will look for wisdom in the disputant 
when he has seen the reliability of the liar? 

(48) When you say: 'One does not praise grace by saying 
it gives to its own that which sins give to the ungodly,' you 

14 De gratia Christi 52. 


refer to conjugal modesty, which you think the ungodly 
possess. Contentious man, true virtue, not something ficti- 
tious or non-existent, is given through grace. But how do you 
unite modesty and virginity as though they were of the same 
kind? Modesty belongs to the soul; virginity, to the body. 
The body can lose virginity by violence, while modesty re- 
mains unharmed in the soul; and virginity may be unharmed 
in the body while modesty is corrupted in the soul by a wanton 
will. For this reason, I said, not true marriage or widow- 
hood or virginity, but true modesty: 'We cannot speak of 
true modesty, be it conjugal or widowly or virginal, unless 
it be united with the true faith.' 15 They can indeed be 
spouses, or widows, or virgins, and not be modest, when 
they commit fornication through a vitiated will or think 
impurely about lustful actions. You say they have true mod- 
esty even with fornication in soul, of which all the ungodly 
are guilty according to Scripture. 

(49) Who says: 'Evil exists in the conjugal members,' 
when marriage uses well the evil of concupiscence for the 
purpose of propagating children? This concupiscence would 
not be an evil if it were moved only to lawful union for 
the sole purpose of generating; but, as it is, conjugal mod- 
esty, resisting it, becomes the limit of evil and is therefore 
a good. Your slander, that 'Its crime goes unpunished because 
of religion,' is false because no crime is committed when 
someone, through a good coming from faith, uses well the 
evil of lust. Nor can it be said here, as you think: 'Let us 
do evil that good may come from it; 516 because there is no 
evil in marriage as marriage. In those who were begotten 
by parents, the evil which marriage did not produce in 
them, but only discovered there, does not belong to mar- 
riage itself. In the case of the first couple, who had no 

15 De nuptiis 1.5. 

16 Rom. 3.8. 


parents, the discordant evil of carnal concupiscence which 
marriage uses well was the result of sin, and not of marriage, 
which does not deserve condemnation from that evil. Why 
do you ask whether I should call the pleasure of intercourse 
of Christian spouses modesty or immodesty? Hear my 
answer: Not the pleasure, but the good use of that evil, is 
called modesty, and, because of the good use, the evil itself 
cannot be called immodesty. Immodesty is the shameful use 
of that same evil, just as virginal modesty is the refraining 
from using it; therefore, without detriment to conjugal mod- 
esty, evil is contracted from evil in birth, and it is to be 
purged in rebirth. 

(50) 'But if the offspring even of the Christian spouses 
is brought forth stained with fault because of the evil of 
lust, it follows that virginal modesty is the bearer of hap- 
piness, and, since it is found in the ungodly, 5 as you say, 
'those unbelievers who rise to the heights in the virtue of 
modesty will surpass the Christians who are disfigured by 
the plague of lust. 5 It is not as you say; you are greatly 
mistaken. Those who use lust well are not disfigured by the 
plague of lust, although they indeed generate those who are 
disfigured by the plague of lust and must therefore be regen- 
erated. Nor is virginal modesty found in the ungodly, al- 
though virginity of the flesh may be found in them. True 
modesty cannot exist in a soul committing fornication. There- 
fore, the virginal good of the ungodly is not to be preferred 
to the conjugal good of the faithful. Spouses using this evil 
well are preferred to virgins who use that good in an evil 
way; therefore, when married persons use well the evil of 
lust, it is not true, as your slander says, that They enjoy 
impunity because of the faith. 5 Because of their faith, their 
chastity is a true, not a false, virtue. 

(51) How are we concerned with your charge that the 
Manichaeans assert: 'He who with his conscience threatening 


him commits murder is guilty because of his apprehensiveness, 
but, if he commits a crime with braggadocio, convinced that 
what he does in an evil way he does out of faith, he escapes 
guilt'? I never heard the Manichaeans say this. But, what 
if they actually say it, or you also slander them? the Cath- 
olic faith, which we hold, and whose power we are urging on 
you, does not say this. We say that works which seem to 
be good works are not truly good without faith, because 
truly good works must be pleasing to God, whom it is im- 
possible to please without faith." Therefore, a truly good 
work cannot exist without faith. But the faith that works 
through love does not do works that are obviously evil, 
because love of neighbor does no evil. 18 

(52) You say: Therefore, natural concupiscence is good' 
(you are ashamed to call it carnal concupiscence) which, 
when it is kept in its moderated way, cannot be degraded 
by any aspersion of evil.' I ask you how it is kept in its 
moderated way; how it is kept there, except by being resisted? 
Why it is resisted, except to keep it from carrying out evil 
desires? Then, how is it good? 

Chapter 9 

(53) You refer to those words of my first book: 'Were 
not the first spouses, whose marriage God blessed, saying, 
"Increase and multiply," naked, and they were not 
ashamed?' 1 Then, why did embarrassment arise from those 
members after sin, unless there was an unseemly movement 
there, such as undeniably would not have existed in marriage 

17 Cf. Hcb. 11.6. 

18 Cf. Gal. 5.6; Rom. 13.10. 

1 Cf. Gen. 1.28; 2.25. 


if men had not sinned? 2 When you saw my words so written 
in accordance with the Scripture that whoever has read this 
part of the Book of Genesis cannot hesitate to agree with 
what I said, you expended much effort in your contradictory 
prolixity, but you lack sincerity. You remained in your own 
evil judgment, although experience has shown you that you 
cannot overcome my true judgment. I shall pass over the 
gesticulations and violent contortions in your contradiction, 
as those of a man panting, unable to reach his goal, and, 
in the dust in which he envelops himself, pretending to have 
reached it. With the help of the Lord I shall lay hold of 
and destroy the essential parts of .your argument, so that 
whoever reads carefully your works and mine may see the 
whole body lying in defeat especially since the things you 
repeat in so great variety of forms have so often been fully 
answered by us. 

(54) Among other things, you say that I thought I could 
show that God instituted an etherial marriage, because the 
first men in their embarrassment covered the members where 
lust arises. If marriage without lust must be etherial, it 
follows, on your authority, that bodies will be etherial where 
there will be no lust. Or do you so love lust that you force 
it upon risen bodies, as you also place it in paradise before 
sin? I do not deny, as you would have me deny, that 'the 
natural is that without which the nature does not exist,' 
but I say that that fault without which human nature is 
not born at present is called natural, yet it was not so con- 
stituted at the beginning. Therefore, this evil derives its 
origin, not from the first institution of the nature, but from 
the evil will of the first man; and it will not remain, but 
will either be condemned or healed. 

(55) You compare my opinion to one of those insects 
which 'gives a foul stench after it has been crushed, just 

2 Dt nuptiis 1.6. 


as it is .a nuisance when alive,' as though you were ashamed, 
as you say, to try to conquer me by crushing me, or that 
you are 'loathe to follow and destroy the filth' in which I 
took refuge. The reason you give is that your modesty, 'like 
the keeper of a temple, prohibits freedom of speech' in parts 
of the argument in which you might wear me down and 
destroy me, because you would be obliged to talk about 
shameful things. Why do you not prefer to talk about the good 
things you praise? Why do you not speak freely about the 
work of God, if its dignity remains inviolate and there is 
no sin from which it might rather produce modesty and 
repress freedom of speech? 

Chapter 10 

(56) You say: 'If there is no marriage without lust, then 
whoever condemns lust in general must also condemn mar- 
riage/ You could likewise say that all mortals must be 
condemned because death will be condemned. But, if lust 
belonged to marriage itself, there would be no lust before 
or outside marriage. You say: 'That without which there is 
no marriage cannot be called a disease, because there 
can be marriage without sin, while the Apostle says disease 
is sin.' We answer that not every disease is called sin. This 
disease is that punishment for sin without which human 
nature not yet healed in every part cannot exist. If lust 
were rightly said not to be evil simply because there can 
be no good of marriage without it, then, contrariwise, the 
body would not be good because without it there cannot 
be the evil of adultery. This is false; hence, the other is also 
false. Everyone knows that the Apostle was speaking to 
the married, commanding each to know how to possess his 
own vessel, that is, his wife, not in the disease of desire 


like the Gentiles who do not know God. 1 Whoever reads 
what the Apostle says about this matter will pass you by. 
Do you not blush to introduce into Paradise and to attribute 
to the spouses before sin that disease, that lust, which you 
also shamefacedly admit to exist? Are you not covered with 
filth, crowning yourself, as it were, with the lust of flesh 
and blood as in a rose-colored flower of Paradise? And, as 
though gladly flushed with that color, you both blush and 

Chapter 11 

(57) Does talking give you so much pleasure that you 
must try by a superfluous abundance of words to prove 
something we confess and teach, as though we denied it? 
Who denies that marriage would have existed even if sin 
had not preceded it? But it was to have existed so that the 
reproductive members would be moved by the will, like 
the other members, not aroused by lust; or (not to burden 
you with sorrow about lust) they would not have been 
aroused by lust such as now exists, but by lust obedient to 
the will. You labor so faithfully for your protege that you 
will endure force rather than not give lust, as it now is, 
a place in Paradise; not holding that it came from sin there, 
but that it would have existed if none had sinned. Thus, 
lust would have had to be opposed in that peace, or, if not 
opposed, would have had to be satisfied upon its demand. Alas 
for the holy delights of Paradise! Alas for the crowns of all 
bishops! Alas for the faith of all chaste men! 

1 Cf. 1 Thess. 4.4-5. 


Chapter 12 

(58) In trying to show that not all things that are cov- 
ered should be thought shameful because of sin, you make 
a multitude of vain observations about many parts which 
are covered by nature in our body, as though they, too, had 
been covered only after sin, when, you say, the first men 
made coverings after sin for parts neither shameful nor 
covered before sin. 'In Tully's book,' you say, 'Balbus and 
Cotta discuss the matter truly and carefully.' 1 You say you 
wrote down a few remarks to make me feel ashamed that 
I did not understand, under the guidance of sacred Law, 
concepts the Gentiles were able to attain by reason alone. 
You quote from Cicero the words of Balbus, to teach us 
what the Stoics held about the differentiation of male and 
female in dumb animals, and about the reproductive parts of 
the body and the astonishing lusts involved in carnal 
commerce. Nevertheless, before you quoted the words, 
whether they are Tully's or someone else's, you prefaced very 
carefully: 'He touches upon the difference of the sexes when 
he discusses beasts, for the sake of seemliness; he omits it in 
his description of man.' What do you mean by saying it is 
for the sake of seemliness? Is seemliness confounded in the 
sex of man, where God makes it more worthy as being in a 
more excellent nature? The Stoics have taught you to 'dispute 
about what is hidden; they did not teach you to blush about 
the shameful. You say: 'He gives a verbal description of man 
himself, showing the subjection of the stomach to the eso- 
phagus, being the receptacle of food and drink, while the 
lungs and heart draw the air from the outside. He names 
many wonderful effects in the multiple and tortuous stomach, 
which consists of sinews, and contains and protects what it 
receives, be it dry or moist'; and other observations of the 

1 De natura deorum 2. 


same kind, until you come to the part about how 'waste food 
is expelled by the alternating contraction and relaxation of 
the intestines. 3 Since he could also have described these 
processes in beasts, why did he choose man there, unless it be 
such things are not shameful, just as the facts about the 
reproductive members are not shameful in beasts, although 
they are shameful in man the very reason, indeed, they 
were covered by fig leaves after sin. For, when his description 
of the human body approaches the extremity where the waste 
food is expelled, he says: 'It is not difficult to say how this 
takes place, but we shall omit it lest the discussion become 
somewhat unpleasant.' He does not say, lest it be embarrassing, 
or become somewhat shameful, but 'lest it become somewhat 
unpleasant.' Some things offend the senses because they are 
deformed; some make the mind ashamed, even though 
beautiful. The former detract from pleasure, the latter arouse 
lust, or are aroused by lust. 

(59) How do these observations help you? You say: 
'Because our Creator did not recognize any fault in His art 
obliging Him to hide so carefully our vital members.' God 
forbid that so great a craftsman recognize any fault in His 
art. But you yourself told us a while back why He covered 
them : 'Lest these members perish or offend.' But the members' 
which the first couple covered were not in danger of perishing, 
nor did they offend when they were naked and were not 
ashamed. 2 The caution of modesty now keeps us from viewing 
those members, lest the seeing be not offensive, but pleasing. It 
is futile to hope the testimony of the Stoics could help your 
protege, no friend of theirs, for they, find no particle of human 
good in the pleasure of the body. Moreover, they, as you, chose 
to praise lust in beasts rather than in man. Tully is quite in 
accord with their opinion when he says somewhere that he 
does not believe the good of a ram is the same as that of 

2 Cf. Gen. 3.7; 2.25. 


Publius Africanus. You had better follow his judgment in 
what you ought to hold about human lust. 

(60) It gives us pleasure to discuss such writings, because 
some vestiges of truth are found in them. Meanwhile, I think 
you now admit that the words you quoted are of no avail 
against us. Note how my next answer will destroy your 
argument. In Book 3 of the Republic, the same Tully says 
that man c was brought into life by nature, not as a mother, 
but as by a stepmother; naked, fragile, and weak in body, his 
soul much troubled, humbled by fears, soft in labors, prone 
to lust. In him, however, as though buried within, there is 
a divine spark of character and intellect.' What do you say 
to this? Tully did not say that this effect came from their evil 
conduct; rather, he blamed nature. He saw the reality, but 
did not know the cause. The reason there is a heavy yoke 
upon the children of Adam from the day of their coming out 
of their mother's womb until the day of their burial into 
the mother of all 3 was unknown to him, for he was not taught 
by sacred Scripture; he did not know original sin. If, 
however, he had sensed goodness about the lust you defend, 
the soul's proneness to lusts would not have displeased him. 

(61) If you defend these things as a lesser good to which 
the soul, turning from the higher, ought not to incline not 
because lust is a fault, but because it is only a slight good 
then hear what Tully says more clearly, in the same Book 3, 
when he speaks of the science of ruling. 'Do we not see,' he 
says, 'that, to each thing which is best, dominion is given by 
nature herself, to the greatest advantage of the least things? 
Why does God command man; the soul, the body; reason, 
lust, anger, and the other vicious forces in the soul?' Do you 
see from his teaching how he must confess that the things 
you defend as good are vicious forces in the soul? Hear more. 
He says a little later: 'We should recognize different kinds 

3 Cf. Eccli. 40.1. 


of commanding and serving. The soul is said to command 
the body; it is also said to command lust. It commands the 
body as a king commands his subjects or a parent his children. 
It commands lust as a master commands a slave, since it 
coerces and breaks it. Kings, emperors, magistrates, fathers, 
peoples rule their subjects and associates as the soul rules the 
body. Masters harass their slaves as the best part of the soul, 
which is wisdom, harasses the vicious and weak parts of the 
same soul, such as lusts, anger, and the other disturbing forces.' 
Have you even more to say against us from authors of secular 
books? If you are looking for something to say in defense 
of your error (may God keep you from this) against the 
renowned bishops who treated of divine Scripture, if you 
seek to offer resistance to these holy men, will you not be 
bound to say Tully was foolish and as one demented? Hold 
your tongue about such books, and do not try insultingly to 
teach us anything from them; or testimonies you thought 
would sustain you will actually crush you. 

Chapter 13 

(62) Why did you foolishly think you could make an 
argument about the movement in the woman, of which she 
was also ashamed? It was not a visible movement the woman 
covered, when, in the same members, she sensed something 
hidden but comparable to what the man sensed, and they 
blushed at the mutual attraction, either each for each, or 
the one for the other. Your idle talk 'begs that modest hearers 
forgive and groan rather than take offense at this necessity. 5 
Why does it embarrass you to discuss the works of God? 
Why do you ask to be forgiven for it? Does not your plea 
for pardon itself accuse lust? You say: 'If the male member 
had also been active before sin, then the offense introduced 


nothing new.' It could certainly have been active earlier, but 
it was not then unbecoming so as to cause shame, because 
it was moved only by the command of the will, not by the 
flesh lusting against the spirit. Here we find the shameful 
newness which your innovation shamelessly defends. I have 
never, as you say, 'devotedly' found fault with the movement 
of the reproductive members in general, but I find fault with 
the movement produced by the concupiscence by which the 
flesh lusts against the spirit. When your error defends lust 
as a good, I do not know how your spirit lusts against it as 
an evil. 

(63) You say: 'If this lust was in the fruit of that tree, 
it must come from God and must be defended as good.' We 
answer you that lust was not in the fruit of the tree; hence, 
the tree was good. But the disobedience of lust is evil and 
it arose against the disobedience that man committed in 
reference to the tree, God leaving him to himself. Never be 
it said that God might confer such a benefit from the good 
tree on any age of human life at any time that they would 
have an adversary in their members against which modesty 
would have to struggle. 

(64) We know that The Apostle John did not find fault 
with the world, that is, the heavens and the earth and all 
the things that are in it as substances; it was made by the 
Father through the Son; for he said: "Because all that is in 
the world is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concu- 
piscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not from 
the Father but is from the world".' 1 We know this, and I 
do not want you to teach it to us. But when you, wishing to 
explain the concupiscence of the flesh which he says is not 
from the Father, say that it should be explained as meaning 
licentiousness, I ask you what a man consents to if there is 
licentiousness, or what he fights against lest it exist; and then 

1 1 John 2.16. 


we are confronted with your protege. Will you continue to 
praise a thing such that there is licentiousness when you 
consent to it, and continence when you oppose it? I marvel 
that you must deliberate whether to revile it together with 
the licentiousness brought into being through assent to it, 
or to praise it along with the continence which wages against 
it the war in which modesty is the victory of continence, and 
licentiousness the victory of concupiscence. You would be an 
uncorrupted and honest judge if you praised continence and 
reviled concupiscence, but, as it is, you show partiality to 
the person of concupiscence (you should ask yourself why 
you fear to offend it), so that you do not blush to praise it 
together with its adversary, and you do not dare to revile 
it in its victory. God forbid that any man of God heed your 
vilification of licentiousness to approve your praises of 
concupiscence and believe from your words that that which 
he knows by personal experience to be evil is good. He who 
fights and conquers the concupiscence you basely praise will 
not possess the licentiousness you correctly revile. How shall 
we obey the Apostle John if we love the concupiscence of 
the flesh? You will answer: 'I do not praise that kind of 
concupiscence.' And what is the concupiscence John says 
is not from the Father? 'Licentiousness/ you say. But we are 
not licentious unless we love the concupiscence you praise; 
thus, when he says: 'Do not love the concupiscence of the 
flesh,' he does not wish us to be licentious. Thus, we are 
forbidden to love the concupiscence of the flesh you praise 
when we are forbidden licentiousness. But, what we are 
forbidden *to love is not from the Father; hence/ the 
concupiscence you praise is not from the Father. Two good 
things from the Father cannot be at odds with each other, 
and continence and concupiscence are at odds with each 
other. Answer which you want to say is from the Father. 
I see you are distressed, since you favor concupiscence but 


blush for continence. Let your modesty conquer and let 
your error be conquered by it. Since continence, which 
opposes the concupiscence of the flesh, is from the Father, 
receive from the Father the continence at whose exclusion 
you would rightly blush and overcome the concupiscence 
your perversity praised. 

Chapter 14 

(65) You saw fit to call the pleasures of all the senses to 
your assistance, as though the pleasure of the reproductive 
members would not be a sufficient advocate for itself without 
this auxiliary force. You say: 'We would have to admit that 
the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch were 
conferred on us, not by God, but by the Devil, if we conceded 
that that concupiscence of the flesh we fight against through 
continence did not exist in Paradise before sin, and that it 
came from the sin which the Devil first persuaded man to 
commit.' You do not know, or pretend not to know that 
the quality, the usefulness, and the necessity of sensation 
through a sense of the body are not the same as lust for this 
sensation. The quality of sensation enables one according to 
his capacity to perceive the truth in corporeal things corres- 
ponding to their mode and nature, and to distinguish more 
or less accurately the true from the false. The usefulness of 
sensation enables us to judge things by way of approval or 
disapproval, acceptance or rejection, seeking or avoidance, in 
reference to our body and our way of life. Necessity for 
sensation arises when things we do not desire are borne in 
upon our senses. The lust for sensation with which we are 
here concerned impels us by the appetite of carnal concu- 
piscence to sense something, whether we mentally consent to 
or resist it. This is contrary to love of wisdom and inimical 


to the virtues; and, in regard to that part of it involved in 
the union of the sexes, it is the evil well used by marriage 
when the spouses procreate children through it and do nothing 
for its sake only. If you had wished or had been able to 
distinguish it from the quality, the usefulness, and the 
necessity of sensation, you would see how many useless things 
you said. Our Lord did not say: 'Whoever shall look on 
a woman,' but: 'Whoever shall look on a woman to lust 
after her has already committed adultery with her in his 
heart.' 1 Consider: He has briefly and clearly distinguished 
the sense of sight from the lust for sensation, as you would 
see if you were not obstinate. God made the one when He 
equipped the human body; the Devil sowed the seed for 
the other when he persuaded man to sin. 

(66) Let godly men praise the heavens and earth and all 
they contain; but let it be in consideration of their beauty, 
not through ardent lust. A religious man and a miser praise 
the glory of gold in different ways ; the one, piously to venerate 
the Creator; the other, in lust to possess the creature. The 
soul may indeed be moved to sentiments of piety upon hearing 
a divine hymn, yet even in this, if it is lust for the sound 
and not for the meaning, it cannot be approved; how much 
less, if delight is found in empty or even objectionable ditties? 
The other three senses are more like the body, and quite 
coarse, in a way, and their action is accomplished within the 
body, not projecting themselves outward. Odor is distinct 
from that which smells it; savor, from that which tastes; 
touch, for the most part, is distinct from that which touches, 
for smooth and rough are not the same as hot and cold; 
nor are these the same as the soft and hard, and heavy and 
light are different from all of them. When we act to avoid 
nuisances in all these sensible things, we are looking to our 
convenience, not lusting for pleasure. We may appropriately 

1 Matt. 5.28. 


receive the contraries of such nuisances provided none of 
them interferes with our health or our avoidance of pain 
or effort, yet those things should not be desired with lust 
when they are absent, though we receive them with a certain 
delight when present. It is not good to desire them, for such 
appetite must be brought under control and healed, no matter 
what its objects. What man, however carefully he disciplines 
carnal concupiscence, can, upon entering a room filled with 
the odor of incense, prevent it from smelling sweetly to him, 
unless he holds his nose or, by a very powerful act of the will, 
nullifies the senses of his body? But when he has left that 
room, will he desire it at his home, or wherever he has gone? 
And if he desires it, should he satisfy the desire, not restrain 
it, and thus not lust in spirit against the lusting flesh until 
he returns it to that health in which he will desire nothing of 
this sort? This is indeed the minimum, for c He that con- 
temneth small things shall fall by little and little.' 2 

(67) We need food for sustenance, but, when what is 
taken by mouth is not sweet, it cannot be retained and 
may often be spit out because of nausea; and we must also 
guard against harmful squeamishness. Therefore, the weak 
body needs not only food, but also the taste of food, not to 
satisfy lust, but to protect health. When nature in its way 
demands supplements which are absent, we do not say this 
is lust, but hunger or thirst. When the need has been satisfied, 
yet the love of eating tempts the soul, then we have lust, 
then we have the evil to which a man must not yield, but 
must resist. The poet described the two, hunger and the love 
of eating, when, judging that the companions of shipwrecked 
and wandering Aeneas had taken as much food as the need 
for refreshment requires, after the buffeting by the sea, he 
said: 'When hunger had been satisfied and the tables were 

2 Eccli. 19.1. 


removed. 53 But when Aeneas himself was a guest of King 
Evander, the poet thought it more seemly to show that royal 
banquets were more ample than necessity required. He was 
not content to say: 'When hunger had been satisfied'; he 
added, 'and the love of eating suppressed.' 4 Much more, then, 
ought we to recognize the need for nourishment and disting- 
uish it from the demands of lust for eating, since we are 
to lust in spirit against the lusting flesh, and to be delighted 
with the law of God according to the inner man, and not 
by lustful pleasures to cloud the serenity of our delight with 
the law. For that love of eating is to be controlled, not by 
eating, but by restraint. 

(68) What sober-minded man would not prefer to take 
food, dry or moist, without any stinging carnal pleasure, if he 
could, as the air he draws in and lets out into the surrounding 
air by inhaling and exhaling? This food, consumed continually 
through mouth and nose, neither tastes nor smells, yet we 
cannot live without it even the shortest time, whereas we 
can live a very long time without meat and drink. We do 
not sense our need for air except when an obstruction closes 
our mouth and nose or, as much as the interference itself 
permits, we voluntarily inhibit the function of the lungs in 
which, as though by a bellows, we draw in and breathe out 
the vital draughts by alternating movement. How much more 
happy it would be if for long intervals we could, as we do 
even now, or for longer ones, take meat and drink without 
any of the enticing sweetness of taste, and thus get rid of 
a very great nuisance and danger? Those who in this life 
take food temperately are said to be continent and sot>er, 
and they deserve praise for it; there are some who take only 
as much as nature demands, or even less, preferring, if 
mistaken about the amount needed, to take less rather than 

3 Virgil, Aeneas 1.216. 

4 Ibid. 8.184. 


more. Much more, then, should we believe that the honest 
way of taking food, in which the needs were taken care of 
and the natural measure never exceeded, existed in that 
dignity in which we believe the first men lived in Paradise. 
(69) Although some writers on holy Scripture, by no 
means the least, are of the opinion that the first men did 
not need such food at all, so that only the pleasure and 
nourishment which delights and sustains the hearts of the wise 
could have existed in Paradise, I myself hold with those who, 
considering the words, 'Male and female he created them, 
saying, Increase and multiply and fill the earth,' interpret 
them as referring to visible and bodily sex. Hence, in view 
of what follows, 'And God said: Behold, I have given you 
every herb bearing seed upon the earth and all trees that 
have seed of their own kind to be your meat, and to all the 
beasts and to every fowl of the air and to all that move upon 
the earth and wherein there is life, that they may have to 
feed upon,' 5 they accept it in the sense that both sexes used 
the food for the body which the other animals used, and 
received fitting sustenance from it; that this was necessary 
for the animal body lest it suffer by want ; but it was received 
in a certain immortal way, and from the tree of life, lest they 
die of old age. I would never believe that, in a place of such 
great happiness, either the flesh lusted against the spirit and 
the spirit against the flesh, and there was no internal peace; 
or that the spirit did not war against carnal desires, but 
carried out in the base service of lust everything lust sug- 
gested. We conclude, therefore, either that there was no 
carnal concupiscence in that place, but such was the manner 
of life that all necessities were taken care of by the proper 
functions of the members, without arousing lust (for the fact 
that the earth is not sowed by lust but by the voluntary 
actions of the farmers' hands does not make it true that 

5 Gen. 1.27-30. 


the earth does not itself conceive the fruits it bears) ; or, lest 
we seem too offensive to those who defend howsoever the 
body's pleasure, we may believe that in that place there was 
lusting of the carnal senses, but that, subject in every way 
to the rational will, it existed only when men needed to take 
cognizance of it for the health of the body or the progeny 
of the race; and then it in no way kept the mind from 
delight in lofty thoughts, and there was no meaningless or 
importune disturbance from it, and it contributed only to 
their advantage, and nothing whatever was done for its 
sake only. 

(70) Those especially who war against lust know what a 
change has taken place. Whoever sees or hears anything, 
though seeing or hearing for some other purpose, is forced 
to recognize, even when not aware of any pleasure of touch, 
that a voluptuous thought may suddenly appear in matters 
not essentially allied with pleasure. Even when there is no 
attraction before the eyes, no sound in the ears, will not this 
thought, be it never so dormant or trite, seek to arouse dis- 
quieting memories associated with base pleasures and crowd 
in upon chaste and holy intentions with a certain uproar 
of sordid interruptions? When we come to the use of the 
pleasure needed to refresh our body, who can put in words 
how it will not permit us to find the measure of necessity 
and the limit for procuring health, but conceals them and 
passes them by, drawing us to whatever delectable things 
may be present; so that we think what is enough is not 
enough and freely follow its provocation, serving gluttony 
under the illusion of health? This evil we do is attested in 
drunkenness; heavy drinkers often eat less than enough to 
take away hunger. Thus, coveting knows not where 
necessity ends. 

(71) The pleasure in eating and drinking may be tolerated 
when, with the strongest effort of will we can muster, we are 


satisfied with less, rather than go to excess in food. We oppose 
this concupiscence by fasting and taking food sparingly; we 
use well this evil when we use it for nought but what is 
conducive to health. I say such pleasure may be tolerated, 
because its power is not so great that it interrupts and turns 
us away from thoughts of wisdom, if we should be engaged 
in such mental delight. We often not only think, but even 
dispute, about important matters at feasts, even between 
morsels of food and sips of drink; we pay close attention when 
listening and speaking; we learn what we wish to know, or 
recall if it is read to us. But that pleasure about which you 
argue with me so contentiously, does it not engage the whole 
soul and body, and does not this extremity of pleasure result 
in a kind of submersion of the mind itself, even if it is 
approached with a good intention, that is, for the purpose 
of procreating children, since in its very operation it allows 
no one to think, I do not say of wisdom, but of anything at 
all? But, when it overcomes even the married, so that they 
come together, not for propagation, but for carnal delight, 
which the Apostle says is concession not command, 6 and after 
that whirlpool the mind emerges and inhales, as it were, 
the air of thought, it may follow, as someone has truly said, 
that it regrets that close association with pleasure. What 
lover of the spiritual good, who has married only for the 
sake of offspring, would not prefer if he could to propagate 
children without it or without its very great impulsion? I 
think, then, we ought to attribute to that life in Paradise, 
which was a far better life than this, whatever saintly spouses 
would prefer in this life, unless we can think of something 

(72) I beg you, do not let the philosophy of Gentiles be 
more honest than our Christian philosophy, which is the 
one true philosophy, for its name means the quest or love 

6 Cf. 1 Cor. 7.6. 


of wisdom. Consider Tully's words in the dialogue 
Hortensius? which should delight you more than those of 
Balbus, who takes the part of the Stoics. What he says is 
true, but it concerns the inferior part of man, that is, his body, 
and it could not help you. See what he says about the quality 
of the mind over against the pleasure of the body. He says: 
'Should one seek the pleasures of the body, which, as Plato 
said truly and earnestly, are the enticements and baits of 
evil? What injury to health, what deformity of character 
and body, what wretched loss, what dishonor is not evoked 
and elicited by pleasure? Where its action is the most intense, 
it is the most inimical to philosophy. The pleasure of the 
body is not in accord with great thought. Who can pay 
attention or follow a reasoning or think anything at all when 
under the influence of intense pleasure? The whirlpool of 
this pleasure is so great that it strives day and night, without 
the slightest intermission, so to arouse our senses that they 
be drawn into the depths. What fine mind would not prefer 
that nature had given us no pleasures at all?' These are 
words of one who had no belief concerning the life of the 
first man, the happiness of paradise, or the resurrection of 
bodies. Let us, then, who have learned in the true and holy 
philosophy of true godliness that the flesh lusts against the 
spirit and the spirit against the flesh, 8 blush as we hear the 
true judgments of the ungodly. Cicero did not understand 
this, yet he did not favor the concupiscence of the flesh 
as you do. Indeed, he vigorously condemned it; you not only 
do not do so, but you even become violently angry with those 
who do so. It is you who, like a cowardly soldier, thus praise 
the concupiscence both of the spirit and of the flesh, which 
oppose each other within you, as though you were afraid 
to have for an enemy the lust which would conquer the lust 

7 This work is not extant. 

8 Cf. Gal. 5.17. 


of the spirit. Do not fear; act instead, and praise the con- 
cupiscence of the spirit, fighting the more keenly, the more 
chastely. You must fearlessly condemn the law waning 
against the law of your mind, by means of that same law 
of the mind against which it wars. 

(73) Consideration of beauty, even corporeal beauty, 
whether visible as in colors and shapes, or audible as in songs 
and melodies, a consideration proper only to a rational mind, 
is not the same as the stirring of lust, which must be re- 
strained by reason. The Apostle John says the concupiscence 
which lusts against the spirit is not from the Father. 9 None 
says it is good except he whose spirit does not love to lust 
against it. If the concupiscence in the action and heat of the 
reproductive members is not such as this, the spirit must 
not lust against it, lest, lusting against the gift of God, it be 
found ungrateful. Instead, let whatever it desires be given 
to it, since it is from the Father. If we are unable to give it its 
desire, let us ask the Father, not to remove or suppress it, but 
to satisfy the concupiscence He gave. If this wisdom is folly, 
then how can we liken concupiscence to food and wine and 
think we say something sensible when we say: 'Drunkenness 
does not condemn wine, nor does gluttony condemn food ; and 
obscenity does not defame concupiscence,' when there is 
no drunkenness or gluttony or obscenity if the concupiscence 
of the flesh is conquered by the spirit which lusts against it? 
You say: 'Its excess is culpable.' You do not see, as you 
could very easily see if you were more eager to conquer it 
than me, that to avoid the evil of excess you must resist 
the evil of concupiscence itself. There are, then, two evils 
here. One of them is with us; the other we bring about if 
we do not resist the one with us. 

(74) I stated above 10 that this is not an evil in beasts, 

9 Cf. 1 John 2.16, 
10 Above, pp. 199-200. 


because in them it does not lust against the spirit. They lack 
the power of reason with which to subject lusts by overcoming 
them or to weary them by warfare. Who tells you that 
'Sinning comes always from imitating beasts'? You strove at 
great length to refute this proposition which no one stated 
as an objection to you, and you idly assembled many of the 
observations about brutes which are used in the science of 
medicine. Although concupiscence is a good in a brute, to 
delight a nature unable to desire wisdom, let no one on that 
score think that the concupiscence of the flesh is not an evil. 
It is said to be a good for the brute, whose spirit it delights 
without opposition, but an evil for man, in whom it lusts 
against the spirit. 

Chapter 15 

(75) You have also invoked a great number of philoso- 
phers, so that, if the natural adroitness of brutes cannot help 
your protege, at least the errors of learned men may do so. 
But who does not see that you were seeking vainglory when 
you listed the names and different schools of learned men, 
since, on careful reading of your words, we see this has no 
bearing on our question? Let us read the list you have 
compiled: Thales of Miletus, one of the seven wise men; 
then Anaximander, Anaximenes, Anaxagoras, Xenophanes, 
Parmenides, Leucippus, Democritus, Empedocles, Heraclitus, 
Melissus, Plato, and the Pythagoreans' each with his own 
dogma about natural phenomena. Who can hear this list 
and not be frightened by the clamor of names and the 
banding of schools, if he, as the majority of men, is not a 
scholar and think that you, who know such things, must be 
really important? That is the praise you sought, yet with 
all these names you have said nothing relevant to the matter 


we are considering. You prefaced them with the statement: 
'All the philosophers, when engaged in other matters, indeed 
worshiped idols with the people, yet when they tried to under- 
stand physical causes, with their many false opinions, they 
also grasped some truth which we may justly prefer to the 
vain obscurity of this dogma we are opposing. 5 To prove 
this you list the names of the natural philosophers I have 
just mentioned, together with their opinions about physical 
causes; either you would not or could not list them all. Here 
you deceived not the learned, but the inexperienced. You 
proposed to demonstrate that 'All the philosophers who have 
tried to understand physical causes can justly be preferred 
to this dogma we are opposing. 5 When you mentioned 
Anaximenes and his disciple Anaxagoras, not to mention the 
many other names, you were silent about another of his 
disciples, Diogenes, who, disagreeing with his teacher and 
with his fellow disciple, proposed his own dogma about the 
nature of things. If his theory disqualifies him from being 
preferred to us, what about all those who have philosophized 
about the nature of things, all of whom, according to you, 
should be preferred to us? That you might show this, have 
you not foolishly displayed your vanity in this useless enumer- 
ation of names and dogmas of philosophers? But you omitted 
one you should have noted, either in connection with his 
teacher or with his fellow disciple. Perhaps you feared your 
readers might think this was Diogenes the Cynic, and, thinking 
of the one of the same name, they might recall that the latter 
was a better patron of lust than you, since he was not 
ashamed to exercise it in public; whence that sect is known 
as Cynics, or Dogs. You, however, profess to be a champion 
of lust, but you blush for your protege; this ill becomes the 
fidelity and freedom of a patron. 

(76) I ask you, if you prefer the philosophers to us, why 
did you not mention, instead, those expressly treating of 


morals, that part of philosophy they call ethics and we call 
moral philosophy? This would have been most fitting for you 
who think the pleasure of the body is one of man's goods, 
although you admit it is a good inferior to the solid goodness 
of the mind. But who does not see the prospect confronting 
you? You feared lest you be thwarted in our discussion about 
pleasure by Jthose more sound philosophers whom Cicero 
called a kind of consular philosophers because of their 
soundness, as well as by the Stoics themselves, most inimical 
to pleasure, whose testimony you thought should be quoted 
from Cicero's book, in the person of Balbus, but which was 
in no way helpful to you. 1 However, wishing to conceal their 
opinion that the pleasure of the body is not a good for man, 
you did not wish to mention the names and dogmas of 
philosophers concerned with moral questions, although this 
must be of prime importance if anything is to be proved from 
the philosophers. I shall not cite Epicurus, who put the 
whole good of man in the pleasure of the body, because you 
do not agree with him ; let us take Dinomachus, whose dogma 
pleased you. 2 He taught that pleasure should be joined with 
moral soundness, so that pleasure, like moral soundness, 
might seem justly desirable in itself, just as moral soundness 
is desirable in itself; 3 but, when you observed that his dis- 
cussion of morals is hostile to you, you feared to touch it. 
You see the number and character of the philosophers of 
great renown among the Gentiles, who must be preferred 
to you; especially so in our controversy. Before all is Plato 
himself, whom Cicero did not hesitate to call almost the god 
of philosophers. 4 Not even you could pass his name by when 
you were hurling against or preferring to our teaching the 

1 Above, p. 216. 

2 This philosopher and his teaching are discussed by Cicero (De finibus 
5.8) and by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 2.31) . 

3 Cf. Cicero, DC finibus 5; Tuscul. qu. 5. 

4 De natura deorum 2; Ad Atticum, Ep. 16. 


physical, not the moral, dogmas of the philosophers. Plato said 
truly and earnestly that the pleasures of the body are the 
enticements and baits of evil. 5 

(77) Did you not think your cause somehow required you 
to tell what the philosophers you named thought about the 
production of man, since this is also included in the inves- 
tigation of nature? You did not say anything, and rightly. 
What could they have learned or said about Adam, the first 
man, and his wife; about their first prevarication; about the 
cunning of the Serpent; about their nakedness without em- 
barrassment before sin, always with embarrassment after 
sin? Could they have heard anything like the Apostle's 
words: 'Through one man sin entered into the world and 
through sin death, and thus death has passed unto all men; 
in whom all have sinned'? 6 What could men without 
knowledge of those writings and of this truth know about the 
matter? But you decided, and rightly, not to quote anything 
about the origin of man from the dogmas of those who 
abhorred our holy Scripture; much less can their statements 
about the beginnings of this sensible world help you some- 
thing we are not discussing. Truly, your mind has been 
subverted by the vanity of your boasting, as though you had 
learned something important from the works of the 

(78) It seems significant that some of them approximated 
the Christian faith when they perceived that this life, which 
is replete with deception and misery, came into existence 
only by divine judgment, and they attributed justice to the 
Creator by whom the world was made and is administered. 
How much better than you and nearer the truth in their 
opinions about the generation of man are those whom Cicero 
names in the last part of his dialogue Hortensius, who seemed 

5 Above, p. 229. 

6 Rom. 5.12. 


to be drawn and compelled by the very evidence of things. 
After he had mentioned the many things we see and grieve 
over in human vanity and unhappiness, he said : 'From those 
errors and hardships of human life it happened that at times 
there was vision by the ancients, whether they were seers or 
interpreters of the divine mind, as found in sacred things and 
origins; who said we are born to atone by punishment for 
crimes committed in a higher life. We find in Aristotle a 
statement to the effect that we have been afflicted by punish- 
ment similar to one once given a group of men who, fallen 
into the hands of Etruscan pirates, were slaughtered with 
deliberate cruelty, and their bodies, part corresponding to 
part, were very neatly piled up, the living with the dead; 
thus it seems our souls are united with our bodies as the 
living were joined with the dead.' Did not the philosophers 
who thought these things perceive much more clearly than 
you the heavy yoke upon the children of Adam, and the 
power and justice of God, though not aware of the grace 
given through the Mediator for the purpose of delivering 
men? Following your suggestion, then, I have found in the 
writings of the Gentile philosophers a teaching that can 
justly be preferred to you, although you, who could find no 
such thing in them and were not willing to hold your peace, 
were the occasion of my discovering matter to be used against 

Chapter 16 

Do you realize that the Apostle's testimony you think is 
in your favor is against you; that when you say the members 
that were naked before sin and caused no embarrassment 
were shameful, you do not know what you are saying? I, 
not you, ought to have used this testimony of the Apostle: 


Much more those that seem to be the more feeble members 
of the body are the more necessary,' and so forth. But it is 
worth while considering how you happened to say these 
things. You say: 'It is time for us to use the authority of the 
Law in addition to the evidences of nature, to show that 
our members were so formed that some of them call for 
modesty while others enjoy freedom.' You continue: 'In 
confirmation, let us cite the teacher of the Gentiles, who 
writes to the Corinthians: "But as it is, there are indeed 
many members, yet only one body." ' Then you subjoin the 
Apostle's wonderful explanation of the unity and harmony 
of the members of the body, and you say: 'Because of 
seemliness, and because he mentioned only a few members 
of the whole body, he did not wish to refer directly to the 
reproductive members.' Do not your own words refute you? 
It follows that it was not possible to mention directly what 
God saw fit to make correctly, and the herald was ashamed 
to proclaim what the judge was not ashamed to make. How 
could this be true, unless by sinning we made unseemly what 
God by creation made seemly? 

(80) You add the following apostolic testimony which 
you give as written: 'Much more, then, those that seem the 
more feeble members of the body are more necessary; and 
those that we think the less honorable members of the body 
we surround with more abundant honor, and our modest 
parts we surround with more abundant seemliness, whereas 
our seemly parts have no need of it. But God has so tempered 
the human body together in due portion as to give more 
abundant honor where it was lacking, that there may be 
no disunion in the body, but that the members may have 
care one for another.' 1 At these words- you exclaim like a con- 

1 Augustine's Scriptural quotation here agrees with certain modern trans- 
lations, although it differs somewhat from that of the Confraternity 
Version. Cf. 1 Cor. 12.12,22,25. 


queror: 'Behold one who truly understands the work of God; 
behold a faithful preacher of His wisdom.' You continue: 
'The modest parts, he says, receive a covering of more 
abundant seemliness.' You thought, certainly, that your 
whole case should be bound to the words you read as 'the 
modest parts.' But, if you had read: 'our unseemly parts,' 
you would not have dared cite this testimony. For God in 
no way and certainly not before sin made anything unseemly 
in the members of the human body. Learn, then, what you 
do not know, since you were not willing to inquire earnestly. 
The Apostle said 'unseemly,' but some translators, among 
whom, I think, is the one you read, being a bit embarrassed, 
wrote 'modest' where he said 'unseemly.' This is proved by 
the codex itself from which you translated the Apostle's 
words. What you read as 'modest' is oschemona in the 
Greek. But what follows, 'have more abundant seemliness,' 
is euschemosynen in the Greek, which, fully translated, is 
'seemliness.' It appears, then, that the members said to be 
aschemona are said to be unseemly, or inhonesta, in Latin. 
Finally, the words 'our seemly parts,' correspond to the 
Greek euschemona. But, even without considering the Greek, 
you should have been aware that parts receiving more abun- 
dant seemliness when veiled are unseemly, while those parts 
that do not need this are said to be seemly. For, what does 'our 
seemly parts have no need' mean, except that the parts 
needing it are unseemly? Therefore, when parts are veiled 
by the sense of decency of human nature, seemliness is applied 
to the unseemly. Their seemliness and honor consist in their 
covering: the more abundant the more unseemly they are. 
The Apostle surely would not have said this if he had been 
describing the body men had when they were naked and 
not ashamed. 

(81) See how shamelessly you declare: 'Men were naked 
in the beginning because the art of covering themselves was 


the result of human inventiveness, an art then unknown to 
them.' This means we must believe they were slothful before 
sin, and sin made them inventive and industrious. You con- 
clude a multitude of vain arguments with eloquence and 
cunning by saying: The first men did not regard the re- 
productive members as diabolical or unseemly because they 
had sinned; rather, because they were afraid, they covered 
the members which retained the seemliness which was theirs 
at the beginning.' I answer that the members were not 
diabolical as to their substance, figure, and quality, which 
God made; but, if those same members remained in their 
former seemliness, why did the Apostle call them unseemly? 
It is well you admitted the former seemliness of the members; 
you could not have held anything else without blasphemy. 
Therefore, the Apostle has called unseemly things God made 
seemly. I ask the reason; if it was not from sin, whence 
is it? What removed seemliness from the seemly works of 
God, so that the Apostle might call them unseemly? Was it 
their position, in which we find the power of the Creator; 
or lust, in which we have the punishment of the sinner? Even 
now, what God produces there is seemly; what origin con- 
tracts, unseemly; yet, that there may be no disunion in the 
body, the instinct of the nature was divinely gifted so that 
the members may have care for one another and modest 
shame may cover what concupiscence deprived of seemliness. 
(82) You ask: 'Why did Adam and his wife hide when 
they heard the voice of God walking in Paradise, when their 
girdles would have sufficed if they were ashamed of the 
nakedness of their reproductive members?' 2 Why do you say 
this when there is nothing for you to say? You do not see 
that, fearful in soul before the face of the Lord, they looked 
for even more hidden hiding places ; the coverings about their 

2 Gen. 5.8,7. 


loins veiled the stirring they blushed to sense there. If they 
were not ashamed when naked, then they covered themselves 
because of shame. Unquestionably, the unseemly gives rise 
to shame. The reason it is said: 'They were naked and were 
not ashamed,' 3 is to show that, when later they covered the 
shameful parts, this was due to shame. Hence, when they 
hid amid the trees of Paradise, Adam answered: 'I heard 
your voice in Paradise and I was afraid, because I was 
naked.' The one is manifest shame; the other, depth of con- 
science, whose inner failure produced this manifest shame. 
Modesty produced the one; fear, the other; shameful con- 
cupiscence produced the one; conscience about to be 
punished, the other somewhat like a madman who thinks 
by hiding his body he can escape what is only in his mind. 
What does it mean when the Lord says: 'Who has told thee 
that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree 
whereof I commanded thee not to eat?' 4 Why was their 
nakedness signified by the tasting of the forbidden fruit except 
to indicate that sin laid bare what grace had covered? The 
grace of God was indeed powerful when there was no lust 
in the earthy and animal body. Therefore, he who had 
nothing to be ashamed of in his naked body when clad in 
grace sensed what should be covered when he had lost grace. 
(83) You say: 'We must not think the Devil had anything 
to do with producing the members of a man or with the 
activities of the members.' Why do you raise such vainly 
extravagant objections? Man's nature owes nothing to the 
Devil. But, by persuading man to sin, the Devil violated 
what God made well, so that the whole human race limps 
because of the wound made through the free choice of two 
human beings. Consider the wretchedness of the human race 

3 Gen. 2.25. 

4 Gen. 3.10,11. 


which permeates your theories. You are a man; consider 
nothing human foreign to you. 5 Be compassionate with those 
who must endure what you have escaped; yet, no matter 
how great the earthly happiness you may enjoy, you must 
daily cope with internal strife, if you truly practice what you 
profess. If this is not clear from what has been recalled, look 
at infants: see how many and how great are the evils they 
endure; in what vanities, torments, errors, and terrors they 
grow up. Error tempts adults, even those who serve God, 
to deceive them; labor and pain tempt them, to crush them; 
lust tempts them, to inflame them; grief tempts them, to 
prostrate them; pride tempts them, to make them vain. Who 
can easily explain all the ways in which the heavy yoke 
presses down upon the children of Adam? The evidences 
of our misery compelled pagan philosophers, having neither 
knowledge nor faith about the sin of the first man, to declare 
that we were born to atone by punishments for crimes com- 
mitted in a higher life, and that our souls are united with 
our corruptible bodies in that same kind of torment with 
which some Etruscan pirates afflicted their captives, as though 
the living were joined with the dead. But the Apostle has 
voided the opinion that individual souls are united with dif- 
ferent bodies in correspondence to the merits of a previous life. 
We must, then, hold that the reason for these evils must be 
either the injustice or impotence of God, or the punishment for 
the first and ancient sin. Since God is neither unjust nor impo- 
tent, there is only what you are forced unwillingly to confess: 
that the heavy yoke upon the children of Adam from the day 
of their coming out of their mother's womb until the day of 
their burial within the mother of all would not have existed 
if the offense by way of origin had not come first to deserve it. 

5 Terence, Hcaut. 1.1.25. 


Chapter 1 

|ow THAT WE HAVE ANSWERED your first and second 
books, order demands we look at the contents of the 
third, and, with the Lord's help, give your noxious 
efforts a wholesome answer. In accordance with our plan, we 
shall pass over irrelevant matters so that readers may learn 
our position with profit and without loss of time. Why need 
I say anything about the usual vain remarks at the beginning 
of your book, about how concerned you are in the cause 
of truth, and the lack of so-called prudent men whom you 
delight in pleasing? This is the cry of all heretics ancient 
and recent, and it is a bit shabby and worn with use. Your 
intense pride forces you into a role and attitude that will 
be your undoing. It is not necessary again to refute your 
insulting slanders, seemingly aimed at one man, myself, 
while without mentioning their names you vent your spleen 
or' blindness upon a multitude of Catholic teachers. I think 
I have answered your first two books to the satisfaction of 

(2) You exaggerate the difficulty of knowledge of holy 
Scripture and say it is fitting for only the learned few: 



namely, that God is the Creator of men and the universe; 
that He is just, truthful, and good; the generous bestower 
of His gifts on men. As you say, 'The one and the best 
reason for all striving for good is that God be honored.' 
And your honor of Him is such that you deny He is the 
deliverer of infants through Christ Jesus, which means Saviour, 
for you say they are washed by His baptism, yet not so as 
to obtain salvation from this, as though they do not need 
Christ the Physician. Julian shrewdly inspects the vein of 
human origin and actually pronounces them sound. How 
much better to have learned nothing at all than through 
supposed knowledge of the Law with your unseemly 
boasting surely not under the guidance of God's Law, but 
rather by your own vanity to have come to this ungodly 
presumption, inimical both to the Christian faith and to 
your own soul. 

(3) You say my teaching is so deformed and groundless 
that it tries to ascribe injustice to God, the creation of 
man to the Devil, a substance to sin, and conscience without 
knowledge to infants. I reply briefly that our teaching is 
not deformed, because it proclaims One fair above the 
sons of men to be the Saviour of all men, 1 and, therefore, 
also of infants. It is not groundless, because it says man 
is like to vanity and his days pass away like a shadow, 2 not 
without reason, but through previous sin. It does not ascribe 
injustice to God, but justice, because it is not unjust that 
even infants suffer the many and great evils we constantly 
observe. It does not ascribe the creation of man, but the 
corruption of human origin, to the Devil; it ascribes to sin, 
not a substance, but the action, in the first men, and the 
contagion, in their posterity. It does not ascribe conscience 

1 Cf. PS. 44.3. 

2 Cf. Ps. 143.4. 


without knowledge to infants, in whom there is neither knowl- 
edge nor conscience; he in whom all have sinned knew 
what he was doing, and every man contracts evil from that 

(4) But you, indeed, bar the way for the multitude of 
the ignorant, whom you say are simple men, busy with 
other affairs, without instruction, who by faith alone should 
enter the Church of Christ, lest they be easily frightened 
by obscure questions. Let them believe God is the true 
Creator of men, and, holding firmly that He is good, truthful, 
and just, let them preserve this judgment about the Trinity 
and embrace and praise whatever they hear that is in har- 
mony with it; let no force of argumentation pluck it from 
them; rather, let them detest every authority and society 
which tries to convince them of the contrary. If you consider 
these words of yours, you will find them most telling against 
you, and that the one reason the Christian multitude, from 
whose inexperienced judgment you refer us to the few you 
regard as most prudent and learned, detests your innovation 
is that they believe that God, supremely just, is the Creator 
of men. And, because they see the sufferings of their own 
infants, they know that God, supremely just and supremely 
good, would not permit His image in infants to endure 
these evils if there were no original sin. If one of them, 
carrying his infant son, should come to you where none 
could hear, far from your malicious clamor, and rebuke you, 
saying: 'By the mind, intelligence, and reason in which I 
was made after the image of God, I do so love the kingdom 
of God that I should think it a great punishment for some- 
one if he could never enter that kingdom,' are you, who 
do not belong to the ignorant mob, but are among the 
few very prudent men and are a lover of that kingdom, 
your love influenced by the ardor of the few and not cooled 


by the tepid multitude, are you going to answer this man 
by saying that never to be able to enter the kingdom of 
God is no punishment at all? I do not believe you will 
dare say this even to one man whose power and testimony 
you do not fear. Therefore, when you give some sort of 
answer or remain silent (a demand of even human, let 
alone Christian, modesty), will he not force you to look 
at his infant son, and say to you: 'God is just. What evil 
forbids His innocent image from entering His kingdom, if 
it be not the sin which entered into the world through one 
man'? 3 I do not think you will find greater wisdom than 
this even among the very learned. But, if you put aside your 
impudence, you will find yourself more speechless than the 
infant. 4 

Chapter 2 

(5) Let us consider the turn your argument takes after 
this prologue, where you brushed aside the ignorant and 
addressed yourself to the very learned few. I do not know 
what keen thought came to you about something you forgot 
in your second book, where you argued at such length about 
the shameful members which, after sin, shamefaced* rational 
nature covered with fig leaves, and where you tried in vain 
to refute my conclusion that 'Embarrassment could have 
arisen from these members after sin only because in them 
there was an unbecoming activity.' 1 What so pleased you 
that you could not pass it by, even after ending the volume 
in which you considered the matter which such unending 

3 Cf. Rom. 5.12. 

4 'Speechless' is a play on the Latin in fans, which means both 'infant' 
and 'speechless,' so that there is probably an allusion to a text of 
Scripture such as Wisd. 10.21. 

1 De nuptiis et concupiscentia 15. 


prolixity? You say it is written: 'And they made themselves 
coverings.' 2 This, you say, is another translation of the word 
we translate as girdles; that coverings can be understood as 
clothing for the whole body, which, you add, is the function 
of modesty. I marvel that the translator you read, if not a 
Pelagian, chose to translate the Greek perizomata as 'cov- 
erings.' If modesty, which you say is concerned with garments, 
is also found here, you will never try to tell us the first men 
learned the functions of modesty from sin as the teacher, so 
that before sin innocence and shamelessness dwelt together 
in them in harmony. By your argument, when they were 
naked and not ashamed, they were immodest, and their 
deep embarrassment come from the natural sense of shame; 
they were corrected from this depravity by sinning, and 
when the reprobate sense of prevarication became the teacher 
of modesty, wickedness made shamefaced those whom just- 
ice made shameless. But your words are so wretchedly 
shameless and indecently naked you cannot cover them, no 
matter how many leaves of words you sew together. 

(6) You think to ridicule me, saying painters have taught 
me Adam and his wife covered the shameful members, and 
you bid me listen to the oft-quoted words of Horace : Tower 
to try all figments alike has always belonged to poets and 
painters.' 3 Not from a painter of insubstantial figures, but 
from the author of the holy Scripture, I learned that the 
first men were naked before they sinned, and they were 
not ashamed. God forbid so great innocence in them to 
make them ashamed. They sinned; they noticed; they 
blushed; they covered themselves. 4 And yet you say: 'They 
sensed nothing unbecoming and new.' God forbid I say any 
Apostle or Prophet, or even any poet or painter, taught you 

2 Gen. 3.7. 

3 Horace, De arte poetica 9-10. 

4 Cf. Gen. 2.25; 3.11. 


this incredible shamelessness. The very men who, as it is 
elegantly said, have always had the power to try all figments 
alike would be ashamed to invent as a pleasantry what you 
are not ashamed to present for belief. That these two, inno- 
cence and shamelessness, the one the very best, the other 
the very worst, dwell together in agreement and concord is 
something no painter would dare picture, no poet would 
write; nor would any of them so despair of human judgment 
as to believe he had a similar power and not, rather, a 
senseless vanity to try even this figment. 

(7) You say that, if the translation reading perizomata, 
that is, praecinctoria, be preferred, the sides were covered, 
not the thighs. First of all, I am sorry to see you so abuse 
the ignorance of those who do not know Greek that you 
do not give the opinion of those who know it. But, as a 
matter of fact, the Latin custom has adopted as its own the 
word perizoma we find in the Greek codices. When you say 
not the thighs but the sides were covered by a perizoma, I 
think you ridicule yourself. Does anyone, informed or un- 
informed, not know which parts of the body perizomata 
cover? This is a conventional name for certain garments listed 
in women's dowries: the girdles which bind the loins. 
Ask, then, and learn what I think you already know; but, 
even if you do not know, I wish you would avoid perverting, 
not human speech, but human clothing, by raising the 
perizoma up over the shoulders or saying the sides of those 
men were so covered by the perizomata that the genitals 
and the entire region of the loins, together with the thighs, 
were left naked. How can it help you and not me instead, 
when, no matter from what part of the upper body the 
veiling of the lower parts was suspended, both of them sensed 
the law in the members warring against the law of the 
mind, 5 aroused in each by the sight of the other, confounding 

5 Cf. Rom. 7.25. 


the wickedness of the disobedient by the novelty of its own 
disobedience? The more turbulent its activity, the more 
shameful must it have been, if the flesh whose sight titillated 
it need a more ample veil. Therefore, whether the coverings 
hung from the loins or from the sides, the shameful members 
were covered. These would not have been shameful if the 
law of sin had not warred viciously against the law of the 
mind. Where the reality itself is evident, we ought not add 
our own notions to the sense of divine Scripture, since this 
would not be merely human ignorance, but perverse pre- 
sumption. The word perizomata indicates satisfactorily the 
parts of the body that were covered immediately after sin by 
Adam and his wife, who before sin were naked and were 
not ashamed. We see what they covered; to investigate 
further is extreme folly; still to deny what they sensed is 
extravagant shamelessness. Despite your stubborn opposition, 
you also know there is but one answer: Those men blushed 
at the activity of concupiscence in the reproductive members 
and wished to cover it. When you seek to raise the perizoma 
to the sides you either cover a part where you say the sinners 
experienced no evil, or basely expose what you admit had 
much greater need of covering. 

Chapter 3 

(8) You quote a passage from my book: 'Disobedient 
man was most deservedly repaid by the disobedience of his 
flesh, for it would be unjust if he who did not obey his 
master were obeyed by his own slave, which is to say by his 
own body.' 1 You try to show, in consequence, that the diso- 
bedience of the flesh must be praiseworthy if it is punishment 
for sin, and, as though this disobedience were a person, who 

1 De nuptiis 1.7. 


knowingly afflicted the sinner, you adorn it with lofty speech 
as 'an avenger of wrongs and therein a minister of God,' 
and consider it a great good. You do not see that by your 
reasoning you could praise the evil angels, who are, in fact, 
nothing but ungodly prevaricators, yet God inflicts pun- 
ishment on sinners through them, as holy Scripture testifies: 
'He sent upon them the wrath of his indignation; indig- 
nation and wrath through evil angels.' 2 Praise them, then; 
praise Satan their prince, because he also was an avenger 
of sin when the Apostle gave him one man for the destruction 
of the flesh. 3 You have spoken very openly against the grace 
of Christ, and are the proper choice to deliver a panegyric 
on Satan and his angels, through whom God executes judg- 
ment and exacts punishment of sinners, rewarding them 
according to their works, making the very worst and most 
damnable spirits the torment of those who are to be pun- 
ished, using well both the evil and the good. Proclaim those 
very wickened powers, because through them evils are re- 
quited evil men, since you proclaim the concupiscence of the 
flesh because this disobedience has been given in retribution 
for the disobedience of the sinner. Praise wicked king Saul, 
because he also was a punishment for sinners, as the Lord 
says: 'I gave you a king in my wrath.' 4 Praise the demon 
that king suffered, because it also was punishment for a 
sinner. 5 Praise the blindness of heart that has befallen 
Israel, and do not be silent about why it is said: 'Until the 
full number of the Gentiles should enter,' 8 although you 
will perhaps deny this is a punishment. If you were a lover 
of the inner light, you would cry out that it is not merely 

2 Ps. 77.49. 

3 Cf. 2 Cor. 5.5. 

4 Osee 13.11. 

5 Cf. 1 Kings 16.14. 

6 Rom. 1125. 


a punishment, but a very great punishment. This blindness 
in the Jews was the immense evil of their unbelief, and 
a great cause of the sin that they put Christ to death. 
If you deny that blindness was a punishment, you are 
suffering a like punishment. If you say it is a punishment, 
but not for sin, you admit that one and the same thing 
can be both sin and punishment; but, if not for sin, it must 
be an unjust punishment, and you make God either unjust, 
commanding or permitting it, or impotent, if it is inflicted 
and He does not avert it. If you admit it is also for sin, 
lest by not admitting this you show yourself blind in heart, 
then see what you do not wish to see, for the question you 
asked is now answered. The Devil and his angels and the 
evil kings were not only sinners themselves, but also torments 
of sinners, through the justice of God; nor are they made 
praiseworthy when through them just punishment is inflicted 
on those deserving it. Thus, we cannot conclude that because 
the law in the members warring against the law of the mind 
is just punishment for him who has acted unjustly, this law 
itself acts justly; and the blindness of heart which only 
God's illumination removes is not only sin, in which a 
man does not believe in God; as well as punishment for 
sin, in which a proud heart is punished by deserved censure; 
but also a cause of sin, when evil is committed in the 
error of that blind heart. In like manner, the concupiscence 
of the flesh against which a good spirit lusts is not only 
a sin, because it is disobedience against the dominion of 
the mind as well as punishment for sin, because it has been 
reckoned as the wages of disobedience but also a cause 
of sin, in the failure of him who consents to it or in the 
contagion of birth. 

(9) Despite your prolix discussion of your blind and incon- 
siderate opinion, it is most certain that your contention has 
no foundation when you say this concupiscence of the flesh, 


which we say is punishment for sin, is not only not reprehen- 
sible, but even praiseworthy. When you say: 'If lust is punish- 
ment for sin, then modesty must be abandoned, lest chastity, 
rebelling against God, be said to weaken the judgment He has 
passed, 9 and the other consequences of this vanity, the same 
could be said about blindness of heart, and in the same 
number of words as though, if blindness of heart is pun- 
ishment for sin, instruction must be abandoned, lest mental 
enlightenment, rebelling against God, be said to weaken the 
judgment He has passed. If this conclusion is absurd, your 
argument is likewise absurd; yet lust, which is the disobe- 
dience of the flesh, is punishment for sin. For knowledge 
should strive against blindness of heart, and continence 
should strive against lust, while patience should endure pun- 
ishments which are neither error nor lust. Therefore, when 
with the gift of God a man lives by faith, God Himself is 
present to enlighten the mind and to overcome concupis- 
cence, and also to endure trials to the end. The whole work 
is done rightly when God Himself is loved gratuitously; 
which is to say, when He is loved with the love that can 
come only from Him. If, however, one well pleased with 
himself and relying on his own strength is given up to his 
own proud desires, the evil grows as the other desires cease 
and, like one praiseworthy, he restrains them, but for the 
sake of this one proud desire. 

(10) If you will forget your eagerness to be triumphant, 
and pay close attention to what you say you have read in other 
opuscula of mine, and have tried in vain to refute: There 
are not a few sins which are also punishment for sin,' 7 you 
will find this entirely true, as we have seen about blindness 
of heart. I ask, then, what you accomplished, what was 
the effect of your citing the apostolic testimony by which 
I proved this, as you read in another discussion of mine 

7 De natura et gratia 25. 


that he said of certain men: 'God has given them up to 
a reprobate sense, so that they do what is not fitting'? You 
try to say this is a use of hyperbole, the exaggeration of the 
truth of things for the purpose of moving men's minds. You 
do not hesitate to point out that this is what the Apostle 
must have done. You assert that, inveighing against the 
crimes of the ungodly, he exaggerates them by calling them 
punishments, when he declares they are to him more like 
men already condemned than merely guilty. By his own 
words, however, not by what you would have him say, he 
shows they are not only condemned, but also guilty; and 
this not merely guilt from the past deeds because of which 
they have been condemned, but they are also guilty in their 
condemnation. For he shows they were guilty when he says: 
'And they worshiped and served the creature rather than 
the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.' He next shows 
they were condemned because of this guilt when he says: 
Tor this cause God has given them up to shameful lusts.' 
You hear him say it was for this cause, yet you foolishly ask 
how we are to understand that God has given them up, 
and are at great pains to show He gave them up by deserting 
them, as you hold. But, no matter how He gave them up, 
He gave them up for this cause, and He deserted them for 
this cause. You also see the consequence of His giving them 
up, no matter what the kind or manner of giving up. The 
Apostle wishes to show the magnitude of the punishment 
of being given up to shameful lusts, whether this be done 
by desertion or by another way, explicable or inexplicable, 
in which the supreme Good and ineffable Justice brings it 
to pass. He says: Tor their women have changed the natural 
use for that which is against nature, and in like manner 
the men also, having abandoned the natural use of the 
woman, have burned in their lusts for one another, men 
with men doing shameful things and receiving in themselves 


the fitting recompense o their perversity.' What could be 
plainer? What more direct? What more express? He says 
they received in themselves the fitting recompense; surely 
this was their being condemned to commit such great evils. 
Yet this condemnation is also guilt, by which they are more 
deeply involved; thus, those acts were both sins and punish- 
ments for preceding sins. Even more remarkably, he asserts 
that it was fitting they receive in themselves this recompense. 
The words immediately preceding these have the same gen- 
eral purport: 'They have changed the glory of the incor- 
ruptible God for an image made like to corruptible man and 
to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. There- 
fore, God has given them up in the lustful desires of their 
hearts to undeanness,' 8 and the rest. Again you see the 
undeniable cause for which they were given up. He names 
the evil they had done previously, and adds: Therefore God 
has given them up in the lustful desires of their hearts.' 
Therefore, it is indeed a punishment for preceding sin; yet, 
it is also sin, as he next explains. 

(11) In your argument to the contrary conclusion, you 
think you have the answer to your question in the Apostle's 
wordc that God gave them up to their own desires. You say 
they were already seething with desires for the foul deeds, 
and add: 'How can we think they fell into such deeds 
through the power of God, who gave them up?' I ask you 
then, what was the effect of His giving them up, and why 
does the Apostle say: 'God has given them up in the evil 
desires of their hearts,' if they were already somehow pos- 
sessed by the evil desires of their heart? Does it follow that 
because someone has evil desires in his heart he consents to 
them to commit those evils? We see, then, that to have evil 
desires of heart is not the same as to be given up to them. 
Possession comes from the consent to them, and this takes 

8 Rom. 723,28. 


place when one is given up to them by divine judgment. 
For, if man is guilty from the mere sense of their seething 
and trying to draw him to evil deeds, though he does not 
go after them, though he is not given up to them, and he 
engages in glorious combats against them, if he is living in 
grace, if he is nonetheless guilty, we would read to no 
purpose : 'Thou' shalt not go after thy lusts.' What pto you 
say about him who observes what is written: If thou give 
thy soul her dtsires' (and this means her evil desires) 'she 
will make thee a joy to thy enemies and those who envy 
thee.' 9 Is a man guilty merely having in his soul those lusts 
to which he ought not to give his soul, lest she become a 
joy to the Devil and his angels, our enemies who envy us? 

(12) When a man is said to be given up to his desires, 
then, he derives guilt from them because, deserted by God, 
he yields and consents to them, is conquered, seized, drawn, 
and possessed by them. Tor by whatever a man is over- 
come, of this also he is the slave;' 10 and the ensuing sin is 
his punishment for the preceding sin. Is sin not also punish- 
ment for sin where we read: Tor the Lord hath mixed 
for them a spirit of error, and he hath caused Egypt to 
err in all his works as a drunken man is seduced'? 11 Is 
not sin also punishment for sin where the Prophet says to 
God: 'Why hast thou made us to err, O Lord, from thy 
ways? Why hast thou hardened our heart, that we should 
not fear thee?' Is not sin also punishment for sin where he 
says to God: 'Behold, thou art angry, and we have sinned; 
therefore we have erred, and all of us have become as 
unclean'? 12 Is not sin also punishment for sin where we read 
about the Gentiles that Jesus Nave fought against because 

9 Eccli. 8.30,31. 

10 2 Peter 2.19. 

11 Isa. 19.14 

12 Isa. 63.17; 64.5,6. 


their heart was strengthened by the Lord and they warred 
against Israel to exterminate them? 13 Is not sin also punish- 
ment for sin where King Roboam did not listen to the good 
advice of the people, because, as Scripture says: 'The Lord 
was turned away from him, to make good his word which 
he had spoken in the hand of the prophet'? 14 Is not sin also 
punishment for sin where Amasias, king of Juda, did not 
wish to hear the good advice of Joas, king of Israel, not to 
go to war? We read: 'Amasias would not listen to him 
because it was the Lord's will that he should be delivered 
into their hands, because they sought the god of Edom.' 15 
We can recount many other events clearly showing that from 
a hidden judgment of God comes perversity of heart, with 
the result that refusal to hear the truth leads to commission 
of sin, and this sin is also punishment for preceding sin. For 
to believe a lie and not believe the truth is indeed sin, but 
it comes from the blindness of heart which by a hidden but 
just judgment of God is also punishment for sin. We see 
this also in what the Apostle says to the Thessalonians : 'For 
they have not received the love of truth, that they might 
be saved. Therefore God sends them a misleading influence 
that they may believe falsehood.' 16 See, the punishment for 
sin is sin. Each part is clear, brief, spoken by him whose 
words you have tried in vain to distort to your own meaning. 
(13) What do you mean by saying: 'Even when they are 
said to be given up to their lusts, we should understand 
they are forsaken by divine patience, not compelled to sin 
by divine power,' as though this same Apostle did not mention 
both of them, patience and power together, when he says: 
'What if God, wishing to show his wrath and to make known 

IS Cf. Josue 11.20. 

14 3 Kings 12.15. 

15 2 Par. 25.20. 

16 2 Thess. 2.10. 


his power, endured with much patience vessels of wrath 
ready for destruction'? 17 Which of the two, patience or 
power, do you find in the words of Scripture: 'And when 
the prophet shall err. and speak a word, I, the Lord, have 
deceived that prophet, and I shall stretch forth my hand 
upon him and will cut him off from the midst of my people 
Israel'? 18 Whichever you choose, even if you admit both, 
you must surely see that the false speech of this prophet is 
both sin and punishment for sin. Will you also say that the 
words, 'I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet,' should 
be interpreted as though God deserted him that he might 
be deceived in return for past misdeeds and thus err? Say 
what you will, he was punished for sin in such a way that 
he sinned prophesying something false. Hear Micheas the 
Prophet: 'I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the 
army of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on 
his left. And the Lord said: Who will deceive Achab the 
king of Israel, that he may go up and fall in Ramoth 
Galaad? And one spoke words of this manner and another 
otherwise and there came forth a spirit before the Lord and 
said : I will deceive him. And the Lord said : By what means? 
And he said: I will go forth and be a lying spirit in the 
mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said: Thou shalt 
deceive him and shalt prevail. Go forth and do so.' 19 How 
will you answer these words? The king himself sinned by 
believing the false prophet, but this itself was also punish- 
ment for sin, by the judgment of God sending the evil 
angel, that we may understand more clearly how the psalm 
says He has sent the wrath of His indignation by evil angels. 20 
Did He err or act unjustly or rashly when He sent the 
wrath? God forbid; the words, 'Thy judgments are as the 

17 Rom. 9.22. 

18 Ezech. 14.9. 

19 3 Kings 22.19-22. 

20 Cf. Ps. 77.49, 


deep sea/ 21 were not spoken in vain. It is not in vain that 
the Apostle exclaims: 'O the depth of the riches of the 
wisdom and of the knowledge of God ! How inscrutable are 
his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! For who 
has known the mind of the Lord; or who has been his 
counsellor? or who has first given to him that recompense 
should be made him?' 22 None He chooses is worthy; but, 
choosing, He makes them worthy. Yet He punishes none 
who does not deserve it. 

Chapter 4 

(14) You tell us the Apostle says: 'The goodness of God 
is meant to kad thee to repentance.' This is very true; but 
He leads him whom He has predestined, even though that 
man himself be unrepentant, in hardness of heart treasuring 
up wrath to himself on the day of wrath and of the revelation 
of the just judgment of God, who will render to every man 
according to his works. 1 No matter how great the patience 
He reveals, who will repent unless God Himself grants it? 
Have you forgotten that the same teacher says: 'In case 
God should give them repentance to know the truth, and 
they recover themselves from the snare of the devil'? 2 But 
His judgments are as the deep sea. We know that, if we 
permit those we govern to commit crimes before our eyes, 
we shall stand guilty with them; yet how innumerable are 
the crimes God permits men to commit before His eyes, 
which He would by no means permit if He willed not to 
do so; yet God is just and good. Showing patience, He 

21 Cf. PS. S5.7. 

22 Rom. 11.35-35. 

1 Rom. 2.4-6. 

2 2 Tim. 2.25,26. 


makes room for repentance, not wishing that any should 
perish, 3 for c The Lord knows who are his/ 4 and 'All things 
work together unto good/ but 'for those who have been 
called according to his purpose'; for not all who have been 
called have been called according to His purpose. 'Many 
are called, but few are chosen.' 5 Those elected, then, are 
those called according to His purpose. Thus, he says else- 
where: 'Through the power of God, who has saved us and 
called us with a holy calling; not according to our works, 
but according to his purpose and the grace which was 
granted us in Christ Jesus before this world existed.' 8 Again, 
after saying: 'All things work together for good, for those 
who have been called according to his purpose,' he adds: 
'for those whom he has foreknown he has also predestined 
to become conformed to the image of his Son, that he should 
be the firstborn among many brethren. And those whom he 
has predestined, them he has also called; and those whom 
he has called, them he has also justified; and those whom 
he has justified, them he has also glorified.' 7 These have 
been called according to His purpose; therefore, they have 
been chosen, and that before the foundation of the world, 8 
by Him who calls things that are not, as though they were; 9 
but they have been chosen through the election of grace. 
Thus the same teacher says about Israel: 'There is a rem- 
nant left, selected out of grace.' And, lest it be thought they 
were chosen before the foundation of the world, from works 
that were foreknown, he adds: 'And if out of grace, then 
not in virtue of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace/ 10 

3 Cf. 2 Peter 3.9. 

4 2 Tim. 2.19. 

5 Matt. 22.14. 

6 2 Tim. 1.89. 

7 Rom. 8.28 30. 

8 Cf. Eph. 1.4. 

9 Cf. Rom. 4.17. 
10 Rom. 11.5,6. 


Of the number of the elect and predestined, even those who 
have led the very worst kind of life are led to repentance 
through the goodness of God, through whose patience they 
were not taken from this life in the commission of crimes; 
in order to show them and their co-heirs the depth of evil 
from which the grace of God delivers man. Not one of 
them perishes, regardless of his age at death; never be it 
said that a man predestined to life would be permitted to 
end his life without the sacrament of the Mediator. Because 
of these men, our Lord says: This is the will of him who 
sent me, the Father, that I should lose nothing of what he 
has given me.' 11 The other mortals, not of this number, who 
are of the same mass as these, but have been made vessels 
of wrath, are born for their advantage. God creates none of 
them rashly or fortuitously, and He also knows what good 
may be made from them, since He works good in the very 
gift of human nature in them, and through them He adorns 
the order of the present world. He leads none of them to 
the wholesome and spiritual repentance by which a man in 
Christ is reconciled to God, whether His patience in their 
regard be more generous or not unequal. Therefore, though 
all men, of the same mass of perdition and condemnation, 
unrepentant according to the hardness of their heart, treasure 
up wrath to themselves on the day of wrath when each will 
be repaid according to his works, God through His merciful 
goodness leads some of them to repentance, and according 
to his judgment does not lead others. Our Lord says He 
has the power to lead and draw men: 'No men can come 
to me unless the Father who sent me draw him.' 12 Did He 
not lead the sacrilegious and ungodly King Achab to repent- 
ance, or, at least, show patience and magnanimity and 
long-suffering to that king, who had already been led astray 

11 John 6.39. 

12 John 6.44. 


and deceived by the lying spirit? Was not the result of his 
being deceived accomplished in him immediately after his 
death? 13 Who can say he did not sin by believing a lying 
spirit? Who can say the sin was not punishment for sin and 
the judgment of God, to execute which He chose the lying 
spirit, whether that spirit was sent or only permitted to go? 
Who but a man saying what he wishes and not wishing to 
hear the truth says this? 

(15) Who is so foolish that, when he hears what is sung 
in the psalm: 'Do not give me up, O Lord, from my desire 
to the wicked, 514 he says this man was praying that God 
should not be patient with him, as though, as you say, 'God 
does not give a man up so that evils are done except to 
show His patient goodness'? Do we not ask daily: 'Lead 
us not into temptation,' 15 lest we be given up to our lusts? 
For everyone is tempted by being drawn away and enticed 
by his own concupiscence. 16 Do we, therefore, ask God not 
to show His patient goodness, and not, rather, invoke His 
mercy? What sane man understands this; indeed, what 
maniac says this? Therefore, God gives men up to shameful 
lusts that they may do what is not fitting; but He gives 
them up fittingly, and these acts not only are sins, as well 
as punishments for past sins, but also they demand future 
punishments, just as He gave Achab up to the lie of the 
false prophets, and gave Roboam up to false advice. 17 God, 
knowing how to work his just judgments not only in the 
bodies of men, but also in their very hearts, acts in marvel- 
lous and ineffable ways; not causing evil volitions, but using 
them as He wishes, since He cannot will anything unjustly. 
Being gracious, He hears; angry, He does not hear; and 

13 Cf. 3 Kings 22. 

14 Ps. 139.9. 

15 Matt. 6.13. 

16 Cf. James 1.14. 

17 Cf. 3 Kings 12. 


again, gracious, He does not hear; angry, He hears. Being 
gracious, He spares; angry, He does not spare; and again, 
being gracious, He does not spare; angry, he spares; and 
in all things He remains good and just. Who is able to 
comprehend these things? Indeed, what man under pressure 
of the corruptible body, even though he already have the 
pledge of the Holy Spirit, is able to comprehend and search 
out His judgments? 

(16) But you, a very subtle and intelligent man, say: 
'One must proclaim the justice and praiseworthiness of lust 
if by disobeying it punishes him who has not obeyed God.' 
If you were wise, you would see it must be by wickedness 
that the lower part of man wars against the higher and 
better part; yet it is just for a wicked man to be punished 
by the wickedness of his own flesh, as the wicked king was 
punished by the wickedness of the malignant spirit. Will 
you praise the malignant spirit? Speak out, why do you hesi- 
tate? It becomes you, an enemy of the gratuitous goodness 
of God, to be the encomiast of a lying spirit. You will easily 
find something to say. You have its praises at hand, if you 
apply to that spirit the praise of lust you thought to deduce 
from my statement that 'It would be unjust if he who did 
not obey his Lord were obeyed by his own slave; that is to 
say, by his own body. 918 This you deny, and deride as 
false, and, wanting to show the absurdity you think follows 
if my words are true, praise lust as 'the avenger of sin.' You 
will certainly not deny that the lying spirit was an avenger 
of wickedness, since by deceiving him it drew the ungodly 
king to the death he deserved. Consider: I say here, too: 'It 
would be unjust if he who did not believe the true God 
were deceived by the false.' Praise the justice of falsehood; 
say what you said in praising lust: 'Nothing can be more 
praiseworthy than lust, if the repayment of wickedness is 

18 DC nuptiis 1.7. 


committed to it; if it avenges injury to God; if it can have 
no association with sin, in order to qualify for the office 
of avenger.' By this very subtle interpretation, all your 
words rightly serve to praise the unclean spirit. Be con- 
sistent, then, and either be the herald in this case for the 
lying spirit, or refuse to speak for rebellious lust. 

(17) Why do you take refuge in a most obscure question 
about the soul? 19 In Paradise, rebellion certainly began in 
the soul, whence began consent to breaking the command- 
ment; this is why the Serpent said: 'You shall be as gods.' 20 
But the whole man committed the sin, and it was then that 
the flesh was made sinful flesh, whose faults can be healed 
only by the likeness of sinful flesh. In order, then, that, unless 
what is born be cleansed by rebirth, soul and body shall be 
equally punished, both are faulty when derived from man, or 
the one is corrupted in the other as in a faulty vessel, and this 
contains the hidden justice of the divine law. I should be more 
pleased to learn which of the two is true than to give my 
own opinion, lest I dare say what I do not know. But this 
I know: that one of them is true which the true, ancient, 
and Catholic faith, which believes and asserts original sin, 
shall hold is not false. This faith must not be denied. Latent 
facts about the soul may either be discussed in leisure 
time or, like many other things in this life, may remain 

19 This obscure question about the soul concerns the production of 
man by carnal generation. Pelagians seems to have denied the pos- 
sibility that the soul itself is transmitted through human seed by 
propagation, and to have made this an important part of their 
argument against the Catholic doctrine about original sin, because 
they thought they could deny that the soul, created immediately 
by God, could be born under sin. Augustine leaves the question 
about the nature of the production of the human soul unsolved, 
although he takes pains to show that, whatever be the answer, it 
cannot affect the doctrine about original sin. Cf. DC pcccatorum 
mentis et remissions 3.10.18; De anima et ejus origin*; and the answer 
given by St. Thomas in Summa theologica I, q. 118. 

20 Gen. 9.5. 


unknown without injury to our salvation. Whether it be 
in infants or in adults, we must be more concerned with 
the aid by which the soul is healed than with the fault 
by which it has been vitiated; but, if we deny it has been 
vitiated, then neither will it be healed. 

(18) I cannot account for the remark you make after you 
cite the Apostle's words: 'And their foolish heart was 
darkened.' 21 You say: 'We should note he says foolishness 
is the cause of all evils.' It is not fully established that the 
Apostle said this, but I shall not argue the point; rather, 
I ask why you said it. Was it because infants cannot properly 
be called foolish, since they are not as yet able to partake of 
wisdom, and you, wishing men to believe there can be no 
evil in infants, think this conclusion follows if foolishness is 
the cause of all evils? We should need a very subtle and 
elaborate investigation to learn whether the first men became 
proud in virtue of foolishness or whether pride made them 
foolish, but, for the present, I merely ask if anyone does 
not know that all men, whosoever come to be wise, come to 
it out of foolishness. Unless, perhaps, by a very great and 
extraordinary grace of the Mediator, some of his messengers 
could have passed to wisdom, not out of foolishness, but 
directly out of infancy. If you say this can happen by nature 
without the faith of the Mediator, you expose the secret 
poison of your heresy, for we see clearly that the sole result 
of your defense and praise of the nature is that Christ died 
in vain, whose faith, which works through love, 22 we say is 
lavishly bestowed even on those congenitally feeble-minded. 
For there are men born with such sluggish wits that they 
seem more like cattle than men. The feeble-mindedness which 
is obviously natural in them is so extreme that you, who say 
there is no original sin, could find nothing in them to deserve 

21 Rom. 1.21. 

22 cf. Gal. 221; 5.6. 


it. Do we not know from daily experience in human activities 
that at first an infant is wise about nothing; he grows, and is 
wise about vain things; and then, if he belongs in the portion 
of wisdom, he is wise about the right, and therefore passes 
from infancy to wisdom through an intermediate foolishness. 
You see, then, how human nature which in infants you by 
your praises would refuse a savior, as though it were sound, 
brings forth fruit of foolishness sooner than wisdom ; and you 
do not wish to see the fault in its root or, worse still, you 
see it and deny it. 

Chapter 5 

(19) You quote some other words of mine, slanderously 
asserting I contradict myself when, after saying the disobe- 
dience of the body was given to disobedient men as punish- 
ment, I immediately named the parts of the body, and said 
they obey the command of the will. 1 When I stated the 
second proposition, I excluded the reproductive members 
from what I meant by the 'body'; hence, it is true that the 
body serves the will in the activities of the other members, 
and the body does not serve the will in the activity of the 
reproductive members. My words do not contradict each 
other, although they permit you to contradict me by not 
understanding them or keeping others from understanding 
them. If a part of the body could not be called 'the body/ 
the Apostle would not have said : The wife has not authority 
over her body, but the husband; the husband likewise has 
not authority over his body, but the wife.' 2 By the body he 
means the members of the body through which sex is dis- 
tinguished and the act of union is performed. Could you say 

1 De nuptiis 1.7. 

2 1 Cor. 7.4. 


a man has not authority over his body if in the Apostle's 
words you understand the whole body consisting of all the 
members? In accordance with the Apostle's use, then, I also 
used the word 'body' to mean the reproductive members; and 
those members are not moved by the will, like the hand and 
the foot, but by lust, as is acknowledged by common sense, 
which derides your confounding the self-evident, and forcing 
us to ^peak at length about the shameful, where decency calls 
for indirectness. It is quite enough for me that he who reads 
my words which you think to refute, and sees how you would 
distort them, understands what I meant by 'body.' 

(20) Anyone who hears you accuse me of contradicting 
myself, and reads what I wrote, and recalls that the Apostle 
also called the reproductive members 'the body' will see your 
accusation is false. You, who find contradictions in my argu- 
ments, and pounce upon them, must defend the consistency 
of your own, where you begin by saying: 'When it comes to 
semination of offspring, the members created for this purpose 
co-operate with one another upon mere command by the will, 
and they obey the mind unless impeded, either by infirmity 
or by excess,' but later you hold that 'This activity of the body 
must be included among the many whose order and dispo- 
sition are hidden, requiring not the command, but the consent 
of the will.' Here you give partial acceptance to the evident 
truth, but you should have retracted what you said earlier. 
How do those members, by your first statement, 'co-operate 
with one another upon mere command of the will, and obey 
the mind,' if, by your second statement, they require, 'not 
the command, but the consent of the will, as do hunger, thirst, 
and digestion'? You are at great pains to find something to 
say, but it is against you rather than against me. In this 
matter, however, no pains would be necessary if modesty 
were present. What good does it do you to feel shame, as you 
say, and be shocked beyond words when forced by necessity 


to speak about such things; when you do not blush to give 
a written judgment against which you yourself, when dis- 
turbed by self-evident truth, immediately give another 
judgment? Even your mentioning shamefacedness is shameless. 
It is enough for me, however, because it exposes you, who 
are not ashamed to praise lust, yet say you are ashamed to 
discuss the works of lust. 

(21) Was it an important discovery that after I said: 
'It was given power that it might move the other members,' 
I added: 'when the body is free from impediments and in 
good health'? Sleep and drowsiness, when they overcome 
men against their will, are impediments by which the agility 
of the members is hindered. When you say: 'Nor do the 
members follow our will if we wish what their special powers 
will not bear,' you do not note that for this very reason I said 
at the beginning: 'That they may be moved to suitable 
works.' If we wish them to do what their nature will not 
permit, they do not follow our will to acts not suited to them; 
nevertheless, when we move them by will and they obey, we 
do not need the help of lust. When we wish to stop moving 
them, we stop immediately, and the stimulations of lust do 
not rouse them in opposition to the will. 

(22) When you say: 'The reproductive members also obey 
the command of the soul,' you speak of a new kind of lust, 
err, perhaps, of a very ancient lust such as could have existed 
even in Paradise if no one had sinned. But why should I 
discuss this here, when your next words eliminate it from 
consideration? You say: 'Such lust is not moved by command 
of the soul, but awaits its consent.' This is not, however, a 
reason for comparing lust with hunger and other vexations. 
It is true no one suffers hunger, feels thirst, or digests his 
food at will, since these are needs to refresh or relieve the 
body, and we must help it in these needs lest it be injured 
or kill. But does the body kill or suffer injury if assent is not 


given to lust? Distinguish, then, the evils we endure through 
patience from the evils we restrain through continence, for 
the former also are evils we can experience in the body of 
this death. Who can know with certainty or explain fitly the 
magnitude and tranquillity of our power in the happiness of 
Paradise, even over the actions by which food is eaten and 
digested? God forbid we think any sensation could have 
caused us internal or external pain, or any feeling of effort 
wearied our senses, or shame embarrassed us, or sensation of 
heat burned us, or cold injured us, or horror offended us. 
(23) Thus, you are not ashamed to proclaim your very 
beautiful handmaid, whose exact name I am ashamed to say 
even in reproach; and you do not blush to say you think: 
'It is the more to be commended because the other parts of 
the body serve it, that it may be more ardently aroused; be 
it the eyes for lusting, or the other members, in kisses and 
embraces. 9 You have found a way to subject men's ears to 
its reign, resurrecting an ancient and very glorious title, when 
you repeat the story Cicero tells in his Counsels: 'When, as 
sometimes happens, the intoxicated youths had been aroused 
by the sound of the flutes and had begun to break down the 
door of the house of a chaste woman, Pythagoras is said to 
have asked the flute-player to sing a spondee. As she did so, 
their wild licentiousness was stilled in the slowness of the 
measures and the gravity of the song.' You see how fittingly 
I said lust has, in a way, a personal right by which the other 
senses serve it in advancing to its work or resting from its 
Commotion as it sees fit. The reason I said this is, as you 
admit, 'A man consents to it instead of commanding it.' 
For, even the fact that 'It may be aroused by other stimuli 
than its own, or weakened or quieted by moderation,' as you 
say later, would certainly not be true if it were servant to 
man's will. I grant that women, whom you would make 
immune to this activity, can be subjected to the concupiscence 


of men, even when they experience none of their own; yet, 
we may ask Joseph how intensely women can be affected 
by its onslaught. 3 You, a man of the Church, ought to be 
better instructed by the music of the Church than by Pytha- 
goras. Think what David's lyre did for Saul, who was 
harassed by an evil spirit, but recovered from this disturbance 
when the holy man played his lyre; 4 beware of thinking the 
concupiscence of the flesh is a good, merely because it is 
sometimes checked by musical sounds. 

Chapter 6 

( 24 ) You exclaim : 'How fitting it was for Jeremias, with 
the chorus of the Prophets and all the saints, to cry out: 'Who 
will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my 
eyes/ 1 that he might bewail the sins of the foolish people; 
and this, because the Church of Christ expelled the teachers 
of the Pelagian error. If you wish to weep wholesomely, weep 
for this, that you are involved in that error, and let your 
tears wash you clean of the new plague. Are you ignorant, or 
have you forgotten, or do you wish not to know that the holy, 
the one, the Catholic Church was also signified by the word 
Taradise'? 2 What wonder you are expelled from this Paradise, 
when you want to introduce the law in the members warring 
against the law of the mind into the Paradise from which we 
were expelled by the Lord and to which we cannot return 

3 Gen. 39. 

4 1 Kings 16. 

1 Jer. 9.1. 

2 An obscure reference to a figurative sense of Scripture, probably 
based on an allegorical interpretation of the word 'Paradise.' This 
particular exegesis, beloved of Ambrose and often used by Augus- 
tine, is insisted on by neither, and seems never advanced as more 
than an accomodation of the literal sense. 


unless in this Paradise we conquer this law? For, if the con- 
cupiscence you defend does not truly war against the law of 
the mind, no saint engages in any combat against it. But 
you have admitted that the saints 'engage in glorious combats* 
against that concupiscence you defend. Therefore, this con- 
cupiscence is what wars against the law of the mind in the 
body of this death, and from which the Apostle says the grace 
of God through Jesus Christ our Lord delivers him. 3 Do 
you begin to see the fountain of tears with which the enemies 
of this grace should be lamented, and the great pastoral care 
with which they must be avoided, lest they draw others with 
them to destruction? For by your innovation you 'increase 
the depravity of the latter times' which is in all heretics. It 
is you who are the 'ruin of morals' when you try to subvert 
the foundations of the very faith upon which morals must be 
built. It is you who are 'the destruction of modesty' when 
you are not ashamed to praise what modesty itself combats. 
The Church, which is called a virgin, ought certainly to hear 
this, so that she may be on guard against you. Matrons, 
holy virgins, all Christian modesty ought to hear this. They 
do not, as you charge they do, 'assert with the Manichaeans 
that a compulsion to evil exists in their own flesh.' The Mani- 
chaeans falsely assert an evil in the flesh, co-eternal with God, 
having the nature of substance. Christians declare with the 
Apostle: 'I see another law in my members, warring against 
the law of my mind,' 4 but this other law, by the grace of 
God through Jesus Christ our Lord, is under the power of 
the mind, to be chastised in the body of this death; to be 
dissolved in the death of the body; to be healed in the 
resurrection of the body and the death of death. They hold 
this holy profession, not in mere habit of dress, but in habit 

3 Rom. 7.23-25. 

4 Non usque adeo putandum est perisse frontem de rebus; an allusion to 
Persius, Sat. 5.103,101. 


of both mind and body, by resisting the concupiscence of the 
flesh a work which can be done here; not by being entirely 
without concupiscence of the flesh an effect which cannot 
be achieved here. Let them hear us, then, so that until they 
are entirely without concupiscence they may be on guard 
against you. Suppose two men were asked to speak in a holy 
auditorium one censuring lust, the other praising it and 
all the saints were asked to choose which they preferred to 
hear. What do you think the combats of celibates, the modesty 
of the married, the chastity of all would say? Would they 
close their ears to the censure of lust and joyfully listen to 
its praises? We cannot believe propriety has so disappeared 5 
that this evil could come to pass, except, perhaps, in an 
auditorium where Celestius or Pelagius presides over the 
assembled disciples while you perform. 

Chapter 7 

(25) You quote my words: 'When the first men sensed 
this activity in their flesh, unseemly because disobedient, they 
blushed at it and covered those members with fig leaves, so 
that this activity they could not control at will they might 
at least cover at will when ashamed; and thus by covering, 
because it shamed, the thing that gave unseemly pleasure 
they might achieve what seemliness required.' 1 You boast 
vainly of having already destroyed the force of my statement 
in the arguments of your second book and the first part of 
the third, which I am now answering but now, because I 
said: 'The activity which was unseemly because disobedient,' 
you want it thought I said it is subject neither to the body 
nor to the soul, 'but always with the indomitable power of 
a wild beast.' I never said it is a power; it is a fault. If it 

1 De nuptiis 1.7. 


does not act by lusting, what is meant by saying chastity 
opposes it by exercising continence? And where are those 
glorious combats of the saints you say they wage against it? 
About modesty, you say what I say; we serve it when we 
attack lust, when we repress and restrain it and permit it 
nothing unlawful. You, not I, however, call good the need 
to assault, to repress, to restrain lust lest it draw us to the 
unlawful acts it always desires. Let the chaste decide which 
of us speaks the truth; and let them not attend your words, 
but their own experience. Let the Apostle decide, who says: 
'I see another law in my members, warring against the law 
of my mind.' 

( 26 ) You say : 'The Paternians and the Venustian heretics, 
who resemble the Manichaeans, hold that the Devil made 
man's body from the loins to the feet, but God placed 
the upper parts upon this as on a kind of pedestal. 2 No effort 
is required of man except that he preserve the purity of the 
soul, which they say dwells in the stomach and the head. 
It is no concern of his, they say, if the pubic region is covered 
with filth and all kinds of impurity. 5 'That they may render 
base service to lust,' you conclude, 'they invariably give it a 
title to a realm of its own'; and this you find akin to my 
statement that 'What the first men could not move at will 
they veiled at will when ashamed; lust, not obeying the 
will, inflamed the body in its own right.' Can you escape 
the force of truth by invoking falsehood and slandering us? 
What I wrote in my book would you had yielded to it, 
rather than offer resistance is far from the Paternians and 
Venustians. In accordance with the Catholic faith, I attribute 
the whole man that is to say, the whole soul and the whole 
body to God the Creator, supreme and true; the Devil 
vitiated, but did not create, human nature or any part of 
it. We must fight against the Devil's wound, which, with 

2 Augustine describes this obscure sect in De haeresibus 85. 


God's help, is to be tended and healed until we shall be 
entirely freed from it; nor can man, with what purity he 
has in his life, keep the soul by which his body lives all pure 
if he consents to concupiscence of the flesh to commit crime 
and uncleanness. As to your slander, what have you to object 
to my words? If this means nothing to you, behold, I condemn 
and anathematize what you say the Paternians and Venustians 
hold; I add the Manichaeans; I execrate, I condemn, I 
anathematize, I detest them together with all the other 
heretics. What more can you ask? Get rid of the slander; 
fight with your own strength, not with fraud. Answer: Where 
does that come from, which, unless resisted, will not permit 
man to be chaste? It cannot be a nature and substance, as 
the Venustians and Manichaeans believe; if not a fault of a 
nature, what is it? It rises up, I repress it; it resists, I restrain 
it; it fights, I oppose it. In my whole soul and my whole 
body I have as my Creator the God of peace. Who has sowed 
this war in me? Apostle, answer our question: 'Through one 
man sin entered into the world and through sin death, and 
thus death has passed unto all men in whom all have 
sinned. 3 But Julian would not have it so. Blessed Apostle, say 
to us: 'If anyone should preach a gospel to you other than 
that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. 54 
( 27 ) You say that, if I hope to establish that the evil of lust 
is invincible, I make myself the advocate of depravity; but, 
if I say I regard it as a natural evil, yet conquerable, that is, 
one that can be guarded against, you immediately present 
your theory from another approach and say: 'Then men are 
able to avoid all sins, since they are able to overcome the 
evil of concupiscence. For, if lust is a natural evil and it can 
be overcome by love of virtue, much more will this love 
overcome all vices coming from the will alone.' We have 

3 Rom. 5.12. 
4. Gal. 1.9. 


answered these arguments in many ways. As long as we live 
here, where the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit 
against the flesh, 5 no matter how mightily we prevail in 
combat and do not yield our members to sin as weapons of 
iniquity, obeying its lusts, 6 nevertheless not to mention the 
sensations of the body and the excesses of sudden pleasure 
in things it is lawful to use certainly in our affections and 
thoughts, 'If we say that we have no sin, we deceive our- 
selves and the truth is not in us.' 7 It is vain for you to rush 
to another side of your theory, unless you wish in sacrilegious 
presumption to reject the words of the Apostle John. To 
return to the present question, then, I say lust is natural, 
since every man is born with it; you, indeed, state this more 
fully, since you say the first man was created with it. I say 
lust must be overcome, and, to be overcome, must be opposed. 
You also say this, lest you hear in return what you say to me : 
'You profess yourself an advocate of depravity when you 
deny lust must be overcome 5 ; it certainly cannot be overcome 
unless there is combat against it. Since we both say lust is 
natural and conquerable, our dispute concerns whether we 
must overcome good or evil. Do you not see how absurdly 
you wish to expel this enemy, lust, yet do not wish to 
complete the discussion of its evil? Thus, if the Devil does 
not overcome you in the adversity of concupiscence, he will 
overcome you in the perversity of your opinion. 

(28) Are you not as yet able to understand that we by 
virtue do not war against our nature, but our fault? For 
we do not overcome good with good, but evil with good. 
In whose company is lust overcome? In whose company does 
it overcome? When lust conquers, the Devil also conquers; 
when lust is conquered, the Devil is also conquered. Whom 

5 Cf. Gal. 5.17. 

6 Cf. Rom. 6.13,12. 

7 1 John 1.8. 


lust overcomes and by whom it is overcome is its enemy; in 
whose company it conquers and is conquered is its author. 
Open your eyes, I ask you, and see what is in plain sight. 
There is no fighting without evil, for, when there is fighting, 
it is either good against evil, or evil against evil; or, if two 
goods oppose each other, their opposition itself is a great 
evil. When the elements composing the body, although they 
are contraries, fail to keep peace and harmony among them- 
selves, disease and sickness arise. Who will dare say any one 
of these elements is not good, since every creature of God 
is good, and cold and heat bless the Lord in the canticle 
of the three children? 8 They are contraries, yet in harmony 
for the preservation of things; but, when they disagree and 
oppose one another in the body, our health is disturbed. All 
this, as death itself, comes to us from the propagation of that 
sin, for no one will assert we should have had to suffer in the 
blessedness of Paradise if no one has sinned. The qualities 
of corporeal things, tempered by contrary qualities accom- 
panying them in the body that we may be in good health, 
are good in their respective kinds, yet their disagreement 
produces bad health. But besides these are also those covetings 
of the soul which are said to be 'of the flesh, 5 because it is 
according to the flesh that the soul lusts when it so lusts that 
the spirit, that is to say, the higher and better part, must 
oppose it. These faults do not require physicians of bodies; 
they are cared for by the medicinal grace of Christ: first, 
so that they do not hold man guilty; next, so that they do 
not overcome him in combat; and finally, that they may 
be completely healed, leaving no trace. Since to love evils 
is evil, and to desire goods is good, and since this combat will 
not cease as long as we live here where the flesh lusts against 
the spirit and the spirit lusts against the flesh, who will 
deliver me from the body of this death, unless it be the grace 

8 Cf. Dan. 3.67. 


of God through Jesus Christ our Lord? Your detestable 
doctrine is inimical to this grace. 

(29) You, a very courageous man, if not a supervisor of 
nocturnals, at least a preacher and herald of wars, say : 'The 
opinion holding that in Paradise the reproductive members 
could have obeyed the command of the will is soft and 
effeminate.' The more power the soul has over lust the more 
effeminate it seems to you, a chaste man! We shall not 
contend with you about the absence or presence of lust in 
Paradise, nor offend the love we see you owe it, but at least 
put it under the command of the will in that place of 
happiness. Remove from there that most evident combat 
which arises when the mind resists its activity, remove the 
very wicked peace arising when the mind is servant in its 
dominion, and certainly, because you do not now see such 
lust as could have existed there, you will confess, compelled 
by shame if not recalled by reason, the original fault in lust 
as it now exists, serving which we perish, and which we 
must combat lest we serve. Consider what you praise, not 
fearing you yourself may be told you incite men to commit 
crimes lest they oppose concupiscence, which you commend 
as a natural good. How can it help you if you seem to 
censure its excesses when you approve its activity? It exceeds 
the lawful limit whenever we yield to its movements. But 
it is an evil even when we do not yield, because evil is 
resisted lest the goodness of chastity be destroyed if this evil 
is not resisted. Since you say it is naturally good, you 
shrewdly decree man must always consent to it, in order not 
to oppose a natural good by unjustified resistance. Indeed, 
in this way your opinion that man can be without sin if 
he wishes can very easily be proved, for there is no way to 
do the unlawful when whatever pleases is lawful, since, you 
say, what naturally pleases is good. Let us enjoy present 
pleasures to the full, let us amuse ourselves in their absence 


with thoughts of them, as Epicurus advocated, and we shall 
be without sin and not deprive ourselves of any good. Let 
us not resist natural movements because of any doctrinal 
opinion, but, as Hortensius says: 'Man would be obedient 
to nature, sensing without a teacher whatever nature desires.' 9 
A nature which is good cannot desire what is evil, or we 
must deny good to the good; therefore, let whatever this 
good lust desires be done, lest he who resists the good himself 
be evil. 

(30 You will deny you hold this, and say it is unjust to 
suspect you of thinking something you do not say. Then do 
not do what you would not have done to you, by asserting 
that we 'invite men to knavish pleasures when we repeat to 
them the Apostle's words: "I know that in me, that is, in 
my flesh, no good dwells." ' 10 Although they do not fulfill 
the good they wish, so that they no longer lust, nevertheless 
they do good, so that they no longer go after their own lusts. 11 
If you think you are teaching chastity when you say: 'Do 
not be overcome by good, but overcome good with good,' 
how much more do we teach chastity when we say: 'Be 
not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.' 12 See 
how unjustly you refuse to believe that we oppose what we 
censure, but you will not have it thought you wish to enjoy 
what you praise. How can enemies of lust not be chaste, 
if its friends can be chaste? In this work, then, we refute 
in you only this: denying original sin and refusing to infants 
the Savior Jesus, you wish to introduce into Paradise before 
sin the law of sin warring against the law of the mind. We 
do not wish to judge what we do not see or hear. What 
a professed encomiast of lust may do in secret is not our 

9 Cicero, Hortensius. 

10 Rom. 7.18. 

11 Cf. Eccli. 18.30. 

12 Rom. 12.21. 


Chapter 8 

(31) You quote the distinction I made between marriage 
and concupiscence in the first men: 'What they afterwards 
accomplished in propagation is the good of marriage; what 
they earlier covered in confusion is the evil of concupis- 
cence.' 1 You think this distinction erroneous, because, as you 
say: 'Whatever is good must share its commendation with 
that without which it cannot exist.' By this reasoning, you 
would have one and the same commendation of marriage 
and lust. Hear briefly how your supposedly definitive judg- 
ment is answered. In the first place, the universe of things 
God created cannot exist without evils, but it does not follow 
that evils must share the praises of the goods. Secondly, if 
'Whatever is good must share its commendation with that 
without which it cannot exist,' then it must by all means 
be true that evil must share its reproach with that without 
which it cannot exist. Therefore, we must revile the works 
of God, just as we revile the evils incapable of existence 
without them. There can be no evil except in the work of 
God, and no evil anywhere if there were no work of God. 
You have something near at hand: revile the members of 
the human body as you revile adultery, which cannot exist 
without those members. If do not wish to do so, lest you 
seem plainly insane, then it is possible that the good of 
marriage need not share its commendation with the lust 
without which it cannot now exist, just as no evil must 
share its reproach with the work of God, without which 
it can never exist. Just as your definition is false and vain, 
so also are the consequences you draw from it. 

(32) I never said: 'The pleasure of the flesh is invincible,' 
although you say this is my usual wording. Both you and I say 
it can and should be overcome; but you say as a good to 

1 De nuptiis 1.8. 


be overcome by another good warring against it, while I 
say as an evil by a good warring against it. You say it can 
and should be overcome by man's own powers, while I 
say it is to be overcome by the grace of the Saviour, so that 
it may be overcome, not by another kind of coveting, but 
by the charity of God, which is poured forth in our hearts, 
not by our own powers, but by the Holy Spirit who has 
been given to us. 2 

(33) You repeat that you used, vainly, the testimony of 
the Apostle to demonstrate something about the embarrass- 
ment of these men and the covering of the members you 
called 'modest,' but he called unseemly. We have investigated 
this matter quite thoroughly. You vainly take refuge in Balbus 
and the writings of the philosophers, as though Balbus might 
make you speak when you can find nothing to say about the 
embarrassment of the first men. But if you would yield to 
true judgments, found in at least some of the philosophers' 
writings, you would not fail to hear them say pleasures are 
the enticements and baits of evils, and that lust is a faulty 
part of the soul. Balbus 5 observation that the digestive parts 
of our body are removed from the power of our senses is 
true, because the things we digest offend our senses; they 
do not entice us; thus, the parts by which waste is voided 
are naturally hidden by more prominent parts around them, 
just as they were concealed when those men were naked 
and were not ashamed, but directly after sin they concealed, 
not hidden parts, but members in plain sight. The more their 
vision was drawn by delight and not offended in revulsion, 
the more those members aroused your protege and the 
greater the concern of modesty to cover them. 

(34) If you are not trying to deceive, you have failed to 
understand what I meant by limping and arrival. 3 By 

2 Rom. 5.5. 

3 De nuptiis 1.8. 


'arrival' I did not mean the man born of marriage, as you 
think or pretend to think; I meant the good which mar- 
riage possesses in the end to which its office tends, even 
if none be actually born. The man sows the seed; the 
woman receives it; and precisely this much the married are 
able to accomplish by their own activity. I said they could 
not arrive at this end without 'limping,' that is to say, with- 
out lust. That offspring be conceived and born i> the divine 
work, not the human, yet it is with this intention and wish 
that marriage achieves even that good which belongs to 
its own work. But because the offspring itself is born to 
condemnation unless reborn, Christian marriage, inasmuch 
as the goal of its journey is not merely the end to which 
its own work tends, but the purpose of the will, presses 
onward even to this: that it may generate men to be re- 
generated, and this is why modesty in it is true modesty, 
that is, modesty pleasing to God. For without faith it is 
impossible to please God. 4 

Chapter 9 

(35) You turn next to the passage where we discussed 
the Apostle's testimony: 'That everyone of you learn how 
to possess his vessel,' that is to say, his spouse, 'not in the 
disease of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.' 1 
Commenting on these words, I said: 'Conjugal, that is to 
say, lawful and honest, intercourse is not forbidden. He says 
the reason for this act must be desire for offspring, not 
pleasure of the flesh, so that what cannot be done without 
lust must be done in such a way that it is not done for the 

4 Cf. Heb. 11.6. 
1 1 Thess. 4.43. 


sake of lust/ 2 You exclaim: ' "O the depth of the riches of 
the wisdom and knowledge of God!"' 3 who decreed that, 
besides the future retribution for our works, a large part 
of the judgment shall consist m the actions of free will. It 
is most just that the good and the evil each be left to 
himself, so that the good may rejoice in himself, while the 
evil endures himself. 3 Your exclamation has nothing to do 
with the matter in which you find it forceful. Your outcries 
do not remove the weight upon you when you maintain 
the ungodly dogma in which you say the good is also left 
to himself by divine judgment, so that the grace of God 
is not necessary for one able to guide himself. God forbid 
this be so; indeed, those who are left to themselves are not 
good, because they are not sons of God. 'Whoever are led 
by the Spirit of God, they are sons of God.' 4 I think that 
in this judgment you will recognize the apostolic teaching 
by which your teaching is overcome. 

(36) One of your contradictions I ought not to pass by 
in silence. Do you remember your lengthy argument against 
the very evident truth stated by the Apostle, when you 
said: 'By no means can anything be both sin and punish- 
ment for sin 5 ? How can you have forgotten your prolixity 
so that you now praise the depth of the riches of the wisdom 
and the knowledge of God because He decreed that, besides 
the future retribution for our works, a large part of the 
judgment shall consist in the action of free will? You declare: 
'It is most just that the good and the evil each be left to 
himself that the good may rejoice in himself,' surely in a 
good work, 'while the evil endures himself,' surely in an 
evil work. This evil work is indeed his sin, because he does 

2 De nupttis 1.9.16. 

3 Rom. 11.13. 

4 Rcm. 8.14; Wisd. 1.13. 


something evil, and also punishment for sin, because he 
endures his evil self, so that a large part of the judgment 
by which goods are rendered the good, evils the evil, shall 
consist in the action of free will; that is, a good man rejoices 
in himself acting rightly, while an evil man endures himself 
sinning. You see how boastfully you are brandishing your 
futile and blunted weapons while you are exposed where 
you are vulnerable; indeed, you wound yourself. You 
slanderously boast that my words contradict one another, 
although I did not say: 'The union of bodies was instituted 
by the Devil,' for, even if no one had sinned, children would 
not have been born except by the union of the two sexes. 
I said: 'The disobedience of the flesh which appears when 
the flesh lusts against the spirit is a result of the diabolic 
wound.' You boast because I said: 'The law of sin warring 
against the law of the mind was inflicted in vindication 
by God, and is therefore punishment for sin,' and you find 
these two statements contradictory, as though it could not 
be true that one and the same evil is inflicted on sinners 
both by the Devil's iniquity and God's justice. Yet, the 
Devil himself both besets men by his own malevolence and 
by God's judgment is permitted to harm sinners. Holy Scrip- 
ture itself cannot be said to contradict itself when it says: 
'God made not death,' and also says: 'Life and death are 
from the Lord God.' 5 For the cause of death is he who 
deceived man, the Devil; God inflicted death, not as its 
first author, but as the avenger of sin. You yourself answered 
the question fully when you said that man has been left 
to himself, so that his being a torment to himself comes 
from the divine judgment and also from his own free will. 
It is not contradictory that in his punishment he himself 
is the author, God the avenger. 

(37) You take advantage of the less gifted. I do not wish 

5 Eccli. 11.14. 


to say you also do not understand, cannot distinguish these 
two, and, in malevolent calculation or deep blindness confuse 
the voluntary and the voluptuous, so that, just as the words 
sound the same to dull ears, you hope to convince the dull 
of heart that the things themselves are the same. This is 
the source of your thinking, or wishing others to think, my 
statements are contradictory, as though I disapproved what 
I had earlier approved or accepted what I earlier rejected. 
Hear my open declaration, and understand it, or permit 
others to understand, raising no more mists of obscurity 
about the serenity of the most sincere truth. Just as it is 
good to use evils well, so it is honest to use the unseemly 
well. Not because of the beauty of the divine work, but 
because of the ugliness of lust, the Apostle calls these members 
of the body unseemly. 6 The chaste are not bound by a neces- 
sity to depravity, for they resist lust lest it compel them to 
commit unseemly acts; yet not even honorable procreation 
can exist without lust. In this way in chaste spouses there is 
both the voluntary, in the procreation of offspring; and the 
necessary, in lust. But honesty arises from unseemliness when 
chaste union accepts, but does not love, lust. 

(38) Since it is your custom joyfully to report any con- 
clusions of secular authors which you think will help you, 
examine honestly, if you can, what the poet says about Cato: 
'He is a father to the city, a husband to the state; devoted 
to justice; servant of strict honesty; good in all things. No 
sudden pleasure rises to take him unawares.' 7 That is the 
sort of man Cato was. Whether it was true virtue and 
honesty which was praised in him is another question. But, 
regardless of the end to which he referred his acts, he 
certainly did not procreate children without pleasure. Yet, 
sudden pleasure did not take Cato unawares and take a 

6 Cf. 1 Cor. 12.23. 

7 Lucan, Pharsal. 


part for itself, because he did not do for the sake of 
pleasure what he could not do without pleasure. He did 
not possess his vessel in the disease of lust although he did 
not know God if he was such a man as he is said to have 
been. Yet you do not wish to understand the Apostle's 
words: 'That every one of you learn how to possess his 
vessel, not in the disease of lust like the Gentiles who do 
not know God.' 

(39) You do well to distinguish between the lesser good 
of marriage and the greater good of celibacy, but you are 
unwilling to put aside this dogma wholly inimical to grace. 
You say: 'Our Lord honored the glory of celibacy with 
free choice, saying: "Let him accept it who can" ' as though 
it were accepted, not by the gift of God, but by freedom 
of choice. You are silent about what He said earlier: 'Not 
all accept this teaching, but those to whom it has been 
given.' 8 Note what you say and what you leave unsaid. 
I think your conscience must disturb you, but, if this gives 
rise to perverted shame, the need to defend a hasty judg- 
ment overcomes wholesome fear. You censure only excess 
and never cease to praise lust itself; nor do you heed or 
sense or understand that what temperance must oppose, 
lest it exceed the limits of necessity, is evil. 

(40) You think the Apostle's warning against possessing 
one's vessel in the disease of lust refers only to fornication, 
not to marriage, and thus you remove from the union of 
the married all the honesty of temperance, so that none 
could possess his vessel in the disease of lust, no matter 
what the passion drawing him to this in his wife. For, 
if you thought there should be moderation there, you could 
also have censured the excess of concupiscence in marriage 
itself, and seen that the Apostle's 'disease of lust' signifies 
this excess, instead of your groundless denial that 'his vessel' 

8 Matt. 19.12,11. 


means a man's wife. The Apostle Peter in this matter also uses 
the word when he tells husbands to honor their wives as 
weaker vessels and as co-heirs of grace, and adds: 'See to 
it your prayers be not hindered.' 9 He speaks as his fellow 
Apostle, who prescribed conjugal temperance for times of 
prayers, and by concession permitted union with the spouse 
for pleasure, not for offspring. 10 Let Christian marriage 
hear this, let it not listen to you, who would have it not 
restrain concupiscence, but satisfy it whenever aroused, and 
thus secure its dominion. Let the faithful of Christ who 
are bound in marriage hear this, I say, that they may by 
consent establish times of temperance for prayer; and when, 
because of their intemperance, they return from prayer to 
the same habit, they may also know how to say to God: 
'Forgive us our trespasses.' 11 For, what so great a teacher 
says by concession is surely a matter of indulgence, not 

Chapter 10 

(41) You quote my words commending the intention of 
truly godly, because Christian, spouses who generate children 
in this world that the children may be regenerated in Christ, 
for the sake of the other world. 1 You remark you have 
already destroyed the force of my argument in your second 
book, where anyone wanting to know what I answered 
you may read it. No one should commit adultery even if 
he intends to generate men to be regenerated* just as no 
one should steal even intending to provide for needy paupers; 

9 Cf. 1 Peter 3.7. 

10 1 Cor. 7.5-6. 

11 Matt. 6.12. 

1 De nuptiis 1.9. 


although this may be accomplished, not by theft, but by 
good use of the mammon of wickedness, so that they may 
receive you into the everlasting dwellings. 2 Thus, children 
should be generated, not by adultery, but by good use of 
the evil of lust, with the intention of reigning with them 
in eternity. 

(42) You give elegant praise to your protege when you 
truly say that one cannot think about anything else during 
intercourse. This is entirely true. What can one think about 
when the very mind with which he thinks is so absorbed 
in this carnal pleasure? He whose words I quoted in the 
foregoing book spoke well when he said: 'When its activity 
is most intense, it is most hostile to philosophy. Intense 
pleasure of the body is incompatible with great thought. 
What man, under the power of this the most intense of 
pleasures, can use his mind or carry on a process of reasoning, 
or think about anything at all?' 3 Not even you could have 
made a more serious charge against the lust you praise except 
by admitting that in its onslaught no one can think about 
what is holy. But, when a religious man uses this evil well, 
he first thinks about its good use and thus thinks to expe- 
rience lust in intercourse, although he cannot think about 
this when experiencing it. In like manner, one thinking 
about his health can decide to go to sleep, although he 
cannot think about this when sleeping. But, when sleep fills 
the members, it is not in opposition to the will, because it 
takes from the will the power of command, turning the soul 
to visions in dreams, wherein future events are often revealed. 
If, then, there was this alternation between wakefulness 
and sleep in Paradise, where there was no evil of concupis- 
cence, the dreams of that sleep were as happy as the life of 
the wakeful. 

2 Cf. Luke 16.9. 

3 Cicero, Hortensius. 


(43) You boastfully and vainly say I put parents on 
a par with those who murder their own children, declaring 
that they cause their offspring to be born under condem- 
nation. While you are elevating yourself on the exultation 
of your own eloquence, in the furor you create for yourself, 
you forget God. Why not make these complaints to the very 
Creator of men, instead of those who beget them, since He 
is certainly the Author and Creator of all goods; yet He 
does not cease to create those He has foreknown will burn 
in eternal fires, nor is aught but goodness imputed to Him 
because He creates them. Certain infants, even those bap- 
tized, He does not take from this life as adopted into the 
eternal kingdom, and does not confer on them the great 
benefit given him of whom we read: 'He was taken away 
lest wickedness alter his understanding. 94 Yet, nothing is 
attributed to God except justice and goodness, by which 
from goods and evils He makes all things well and rightly. 
You see how much more understandable it is that nothing 
be imputed to parents, undeniably ignorant of their chil- 
dren's future, except that they choose to have children. 

Chapter 11 

- (44) You quote from the Gospel: 'It were better for 
that man if he had not been born.' 1 But was his birth not 
due more to the work of God than his parents? Why did 
not God, foreknowing the evil that lay before him and 
which parents cannot know, give the better portion to His 
own image? Those who understand rightly know that nothing 
is attributed to God except what is proper to the goodness 

4 Wisd. 4.11. 
1 Matt. 26.24. 


of the Creator. In like manner, without any difficult inves- 
tigation, we must attribute to parents their wish to have 
children, although they know nothing of their future. But 
I do not say that children who die without the baptism of 
Christ will undergo such grievous punishment that it were 
better for them never to have been born, since our Lord did 
not say these words of any sinner you please, but only of 
the most base and ungodly. If we consider what He said 
about the Sodomites, which certainly He did not mean of 
them only that it will be more tolerable for one than for 
another in the day of judgment, 2 who can doubt that non- 
baptized infants, having only original sin and no burden of 
personal sins, will suffer the lightest condemnation of all? 
I cannot define the amount and kind of their punishment, 
but I dare not say it were better for them never to have 
existed than to exist there. But you, also, who contend 
they are, as it were, free of any condemnation, do not wish to 
think about the condemnation by which you punish 
them by estranging from the life of God and from the 
kingdom of God so many images of God, and by separating 
them from the pious parents you so eloquently urge to 
procreate them. They suffer these separations unjustly, if 
they have no sin at all; or if justly, then they have original 

(45) You next quote the words in which I related how 
honorably the ancient fathers used their wives, and you say: 
'They did not seek offspring with the intention of generating 
those to be washed as culprits by baptism, since the baptism 
by which we are now adopted had not yet been instituted.' 3 
What you say about baptism is true, yet it is not a reason 
for thinking that, even before circumcision had been given, 
the servants of God did not help their children by any sacra- 

2 Cf. Matt. 10.15; 11.24. 

3 Cf. De nuptiis 1.9. 


ment of the Mediator, since, indeed, faith in the Mediator 
who was to come in the flesh existed among them; although 
for some necessary reason Scripture did not reveal the nature 
of their sacrament. For we read of their sacrifices, 4 by which 
was figured the blood which alone takes away the sin of 
the world; 5 and, more openly, we read that, during the 
Law, sacrifices for sins were offered at the birth of infants. 
Can you answer what sins they were offered for? Think, 
also, that the soul of the infant of one of those fathers would 
perish from his people unless he were circumcised on the 
eighth day, 6 and answer what there could be in him whom 
you deny is subject to original sin to deserve that he must 

Chapter 12 

(46) You have many objections to make about my decla- 
ration about 'Joseph, whose wife was Mary,' as I stated 
according to the Gospel. 1 You try to show that 'because 
there was no intercourse, there was no marriage.' By your 
reasoning, then, when the married cease to have intercourse, 
they are no longer spouses and the cessation will be divorce. 
Lest this come to pass, the decrepit must according to their 
power behave as the young, not sparing bodies worn with 
age from the act in which you, who profess celibacy, take 
such great joy. In order to remain spouses, let them not 
think of age, where the incentives of lust are concerned. 
If this pleases you, look to it. Nevertheless, because human 
soundness agrees that the motive in taking a wife is the 
procreation of offspring, regardless of how weakness yields 

4 Cf. Lev. 12. 

5 Cf. John 1.29. 

6 Cf. Gen. 17.14. 

1 De nuptiis 1.10. 


to lust, I note, in addition to the faithfulness which the 
married owe to each other so that there be no adultery, 
and the offspring, for whose generation the two sexes are 
to be united, that a third good, which seems to me to be 
a sacrament, should exist in the married, above all in those 
who belong to the people of God, so that there be no divorce 
from a wife who cannot bear, and that a man not wishing 
to beget more children give not his wife to another for 
begetting, as Cato is said to have done. 2 This is why I 
said the full number of the three goods of marriage is found 
in what I declared by the Gospel was a marriage: 'Faith- 
fulness, because no adultery; offspring, our Lord Christ; 
and sacrament, because no divorce.' And thus my statement 
that the full number of the goods of marriage, that is, this 
threefold good, was fulfilled in the parents of Christ does 
not, as you think, imply I meant to say that whatever is 
otherwise is evil. I say that there is another way in which 
marriage is good when offspring can be procreated only 
through intercourse. If there were another way to procreate, 
yet the spouses had intercourse, then they evidently must 
have yielded to lust, and made evil use of evil. But, since 
the two sexes were purposely instituted, man can be born 
only from their union, and thus spouses by their union for 
this purpose make good use of that evil; if, however, they 
seek pleasure from lust, this use is excusably evil. 

(47) You say: 'It was only the common opinion that 
Joseph was her husband.' You would have us think Scripture 
was merely giving an opinion, not a fact, when it said that 
the Virgin Mary was his wife. Now, we hold that one of 
the Evangelists could have written in this way when relating 
either his own words or those of another man, and thus 
speaking according to men's opinions; but was the angel, 
speaking as one person to one person, merely giving an 

2 Plutarch, In vita Catonis; Lucan 2. 


opinion instead of a fact, contrary to his own knowledge 
and that of his hearer, when he said to Joseph: 'Do not be 
afraid to take to thee Mary thy wife'? And what was the 
purpose of listing the generations up to Joseph, 3 if not because 
the male sex has the place of honor in marriage? You were 
afraid to meet this argument in the book you are answering. 4 
The Evangelist Luke says of our Lord: 'Being, as was sup- 
posed, the son of Joseph' 5 ; because it was so supposed in 
order that it might be thought He was really begotten 
through the marriage union of Joseph. Luke wished to 
remove this false opinion, not to deny, contrary to the angel's 
testimony, that Mary was Joseph's wife. 

(48) You yourself admit that 'He received the name hus- 
band from the faith of the betrothal.' This faith certainly 
remained inviolate. When he saw the holy Virgin already 
fruitful with the divine gift, he did not seek another wife, 
although he would never have sought the Virgin herself if 
she had not needed a husband. He did not think the bond 
of conjugal faith should be dissolved because the hope of 
carnal intercourse had been taken away. But think what you 
will about that marriage; we do not say, as you calumniate 
us: 'The first spouses were so instituted that they would 
have been spouses without the carnal union of the two sexes.' 
The point at issue between us is this: whether before sin the 
flesh lusted against the spirit in Paradise; or whether this 
does not now take place in spouses, when conjugal modesty 
itself must restrain the excess of this same concupiscence; 
whether this opposing force to which man may not consent, 
lest it proceed to its excesses, is not an evil; whether he in 
whom you deny any evil exists is not born of and with 
this concupiscence; and whether any man can be delivered 

3 Cf. Matt. 1.20,16. 

4 De 'nuptiis 1.12. 

5 Luke 3.23. 


from this inborn evil except by regeneration. In these matters 
your ungodly innovation is silenced by the ancient tradition 
of the Catholic truth. 

Chapter 13 

(49) You thought is is necessary to assemble testimonies 
from holy Scripture to prove something about which there 
was no question between us, namely, that man was created 
by God which we may not deny about the least of worms. 
Do you not in all this seem to be unusually prolix, for pur- 
poses of your own? When you were making extended use 
of the testimony of holy Job, why did it not occur to you 
that that man of God, when talking about human sins, said 
no one on earth, not even a day-old infant, is free from sin? 1 
Who but a man refusing to believe God exists, or cares for 
the things of the earth, will deny that mercy is bestowed 
on the great and the small by Him from whom the salvation 
of men and beasts comes, and who makes His sun rise on 
the good and the evil? 2 As though we had somehow disa- 
greed about this matter, you try to teach it through the 
testimony of holy Job, because he said: 'Thou hast put me 
together with bones and sinews; thou hast granted me life 
and mercy.' 3 It is possible he did not refer to all men, but 
was only giving thanks for himself, that God had not de- 
serted him who had been born carnally, and that He who 
created him had shown him mercy so that he might live 
truly, that is, live justly; or, perhaps, because the life 
he had been allotted at birth was a paltry thing, he added 
'and mercy,' lest he remain by nature a son of wrath even 

1 Cf. Job 14.5 (Septuagint) . 

2 Cf. Matt. 5.45. 

3 Jcb 10.11,12. 


as all the rest, to remain among the vessels of wrath and 
not be made one of the vessels of mercy. 

(50) I no longer know how many times we have answered 
why a believer is not guilty of the evil always near him and 
existing in his members, while the newly born contracts 
guilt from this evil; for rebirth, not birth, conferred this 
benefit on the believer. Therefore, the offspring can be 
delivered from guilt only as his parent was delivered. 

Chapter 14 

(51) Dialectics has taught you an impressive truth : 'That 
which inheres in a subject cannot exist without the thing 
which is the subject of its inherence.' You conclude : 'There- 
fore, the evil which inheres in the parents as its subject cannot 
transmit its guilt to something else to which it does not 
extend, that is to say, to the offspring.' What you say would 
be correct if the evil of concupiscence did not extend to the 
offspring from the parents; but, because no one is seminated 
without it, no one is born without it. How can you say it 
does not extend to that to which it passes? Not Aristotle, 
about whose Categories you are foolishly wise, but the 
Apostle, says: 'Through one man sin entered into the world, 
and it has passed unto all men.' 1 Dialectics is not false, but 
you do not understand its teaching. What you have taken 
from dialectics is true; things which inhere in a subject, 
such as qualities, cannot exist without the subject in which 
they inhere, as color or form inheres in a subject body. But 
they pass to other things by affecting them, not by emi- 
grating, as Ethiopians beget black men because they them- 
selves are black, although the parents do not transfer like 
a coat the color of their bodies to their offspring. By means 

1 Rom. 5.12. 


of the quality of their own bodies, they affect the body 
which is propagated of them. It is even more wonderful 
when the qualities of corporeal things pass to incorporeal 
beings, yet this happens when we somehow derive the corpo- 
real forms we see and store them up in memory, and carry 
them with us wherever we go. These forms are not separated 
from the bodies whose forms they are, yet they pass to us 
in a marvellous way when our senses are affected by them. 
Now, they pass from the spirit to the body in the same way 
in which they pass from the body to the spirit. The various 
colors of Jacob's rods affected the mothers of lambs, and 
this passed to their souls; then, passing from the souls of 
the ewes by the same kind of influence, those colors appeared 
in the bodies of the lambs. 2 The well-known medical author- 
ity, Soranus, writes and confirms by an historical example 
that such can also take place in human offspring. He nar- 
rates that the tyrant Dionysius, because he was deformed 
and did not wish his son to be like himself, used at time of 
intercourse to place before his wife a portrait of an extremely 
handsome man, so that she, desiring its beauty, might absorb 
it, and this effect might be transmitted to the offspring she 
conceived. 3 For, when God creates something having a 
nature, He does not remove the laws He has given to the 
movements of that nature. In like manner, then, although 
these faults are in a subject, they may pass from parents to 

2 Cf Gen. 30.37-42. 

3 When he considered this book in his Retractationes (2.62) , Augus- 
tine said: 'In the fifth volume of this long and elaborate work, 
I mentioned a deformed husband who at the time of intercourse 
used to place before his wife a beautiful portrait, lest she bear 
deformed children. I gave the man a name as though this were 
certain knowledge, although it was not certain, for my memory de- 
ceived me. Soranus, the medical authority, wrote that a Cyprian 
king actually used to do this, but Soranus did not give the name 
of that king.' Soranus was a physician of Ephesus, who practiced 
his profession first at Alexandria and later at Rome, A.D. 98-138. 


children, not by wandering from their own subject to another, 
as those Categories you have read most truly show is im- 
possible, but, as you do not understand, by affecting the off- 
spring and by contagion. 

Chapter 15 

(52) Why did you strive by elaborate arguments to arrive 
at the sea of ungodliness revealed in your words: 'The flesh 
of Christ, because He was born of Mary, whose flesh like 
that of all the rest came from propagation from Adam, will 
not differ from sinful flesh, and we should not find any 
distinction expressed in the Apostle's words 1 that He was 
sent in the likeness of sinful flesh'? You dare insist: There 
is no sinful flesh, lest the flesh of Christ also be this.' Then 
what is the likeness of sinful flesh, if there is no sinful flesh? 
You say I have not understood the Apostle's meaning; but 
neither have I explained his words in such a way that we 
might believe, as you teach, that a thing resembles some- 
thing non-existent. If these are the words of one demented, 
and it cannot be doubted that the flesh of Christ is not 
sinful flesh but like to sinful flesh, what remains but to 
hold that, excepting His flesh, all other human flesh is sinful 
flesh? We see, moreover, that the concupiscence through 
which Christ willed not to be conceived produced the propa- 
gation of evil in the the human race, for though the body of 
Mary was thence derived, it did not transmit concupiscence 
to the body it did not thence conceive. Moreover, whoever 
denies that the reason the body of Christ is said to be the 
likeness of sinful flesh is that all other flesh of men is sinful 
flesh, and so compares the flesh of Christ with the flesh of 

1 Cf. Rom. 8.3. 


other men as to assert they are of equal purity, is a detestable 

(53) You think you have found something important and 
argue at length that, 'Even if the born contract evil from 
their parents, it would be cleansed by the power of God, 
because He Himself forms them in their mother's womb. As 
though we denied this last, you give many testimonies from 
Scripture to prove we are formed by Him, and you quote 
from the Book of Ecclesiasticus, which says the works of God 
are hidden works. 2 You immediately add your own voice: 
'This judgment refutes the vanity of those who believe the 
depths of nature can be comprehended by investigation.' Ap- 
ply this to yourself, and do not try rashly to define the origin 
of the soul, which cannot be comprehended by any absolutely 
certain reasoning or any unambiguous passage of Scripture. 
Speak rather like that very wise woman, the mother of the 
Machabees, whose words to her sons you quote: C I know 
not how you were formed in my womb.' 3 We surely cannot 
think she meant their bodies, which she had no doubt she 
conceived from male seed. She truly did not know whether 
the souls of her children were derived from the father's seed, 
or began to exist in her womb from somewhere else; nor was 
she ashamed to confess her ignorance, that she might avoid 
temerity. What do you mean, then, when you ask: 'Why 
would not the children be cleansed in the work itself, so 
that the hands of the Creator would purify them of the 
defilements attributed to the parents?' You do not see this 
could also be said about the manifest bodily faults with 
which not a few infants are born; yet, let none ever doubt 
that the true and good God forms all bodies. Nevertheless, 
from the hands of so great a Creator proceeds a multitude 
not only of faulty things, but even such monsters that they 

2 Cf. Eccli. 3.2223. 

3 2 Mach. 7.22. 


are called 'errors of nature 9 by some who, unable to search 
out the divine power, what God does and why, are ashamed 
to confess they do not know what they do not know. 

(54) When we consider the passing of original sin to 
all men, we see that because it passes by means of the concu- 
piscence of the flesh, it could not have passed to flesh that a 
virgin conceived, not through concupiscence. You quote from 
another book I wrote to Marcellinus, of holy memory, and 
you attribute to me the statement: 'All who were to come 
from this stock Adam infected in himself.' Christ did not 
come into His mother's womb thence, whence Adam infected 
all. I shall repeat the most important parts of my argument, 
since you did not wish to quote them, for reasons that will 
soon become clear. I said: 'By this hidden corruption, that 
is, his carnal concupiscence, he infected in himself all who 
were to come from his stock.' 4 Thus, he did not infect flesh 
in whose conception this corruption was not present. The 
flesh of Christ received mortality from the mortality of His 
mother's body, because it found her body mortal; it did not 
contract the taint of original sin, because it did not find 
the concupiscence of one carnally seminating. But, if He 
had received only the substance of the flesh from His mother, 
and not mortality, His flesh not only could not have been 
sinful flesh; it could not have been the likeness of sinful 

(55) You equate me and my teaching with the error of 
Apollinaris, who, you say, "denied that bodily senses existed 
in Christ'; so that you may create confusion everywhere for 
the uninformed, lest they see the light of truth. 5 The bodily 

4 De peccatorum mentis ft remissione 1.10. 

5 In the Opus imperfectum contra Julianum, Augustine denies that the 
doctrine here stated by Julian is genuinely Apollinarian. Apollinaris 
did not deny that Christ had the sense faculties of the body; he 
denied that the Word of God assumed a human soul when He 
assumed human nature. 


senses, without which no man living in the body ever has 
been or is or will be, are not the same as the concupiscence 
by which the flesh lusts against the spirit. Before sin, the 
first man existed without this concupiscence, and he had a 
human nature such as we have been shown in Christ, for 
Christ was created from a woman, without the activity of 
concupiscence, as the first man was created from earth. But 
Christ also assumed from the woman the infirmity of morta- 
lity, and before sin this infirmity did not .exist in the flesh 
of the first man. Christ assumed it that His flesh might be 
what the flesh of the first man at the first had not been: 
the likeness of sinful flesh. That He might give us an example 
of suffering, He who had no iniquity of His own bore the 
iniquities of others; He bore us, not in coverings, but in 

(56) Therefore, those born of Adam must be transferred, 
reborn, to Christ, lest the image of God perish from the 
kingdom of God. Man generated from the condemned origin 
must be generated with this evil. God forbid, however, that 
as you calumniate us, we 'place the regenerated under neces- 
sity to commit evil, God giving the gifts of virtues. 5 Although 
we see another law in our members, warring against the 
law of our mind, we are not thereby forced to commit 
crimes; he whose spirit lusts by the spiritual gift against the 
concupiscence of the flesh is worthy of praise. No matter 
where you turn, how you boast, what you accumulate, how 
you expand and sputter what the good spirit combats is 
not good. 

(57) You say: 'An unlike nature could not have given 
us an example.' It could, indeed; what else is meant when 
He exhorts us to imitate the Father, who makes His sun 
rise upon the good and the bad, so that by His example 
we may love our enemies? 6 But the nature of the man Christ 

6 Cf. Matt. 5.44,45. 


was not unlike our nature; it was unlike our fault. He alone 
of all men born was born without fault. As to our life 
imitating Christ: that He is also God while we are only 
men makes a great difference, for no man can be as just 
as the man who is also God. You say something important 
and true when you cite the testimony of the Apostle Peter: 
'He did no sin 9 ; 7 and note the Apostle holds this statement 
that Christ did no sin sufficient to prove there was no sin 
in Him. 'Thus he teaches/ you conclude, 'that He who did 
not sin could not have had sin. 9 Entirely true; for certainly 
the adult would have committed sin if there was sin in the 
infant. The reason that, except for Him, there is no man 
who has not committed sin after reaching majority is that, 
except for Him, no man is without sin at the beginning 
of infancy. 

(58) You say: 'Remove the cause of the example, and 
you take away its value for us. 9 No wonder you find nothing 
but an example in Christ, since you attack the help of grace, 
of which He was the fullness. You say: 'In the hope of being 
without evil, we seek the supports of the faith; yet we are 
not without power, since manliness itself remains after bap- 
tism. 9 By manliness you mean the concupiscence of the flesh; 
the thing indeed remains against which the spirit must lust, 
lest man already reborn be enticed and drawn away by his 
own concupiscence. But, surely, the concupiscence which 
wars in order to draw man away, even if it does not do so 
when the spirit lusts against it and resists and therefore it 
does not conceive and bring forth sin, 8 is not a good. About 
this concupiscence the Apostle says: 'For I know that in me, 
that is in my flesh, no good dwells." If Christ had had in 
His nature this thing which is not good, He would not have 
healed it in ours. 

7 1 Peter 2.22. 

8 Cf. James 1.14,15. 

9 Rom. 7.18. 


Chapter 16 

(59) You quote again from my book, where I said: 'Con- 
jugal intercourse performed with the intention of generating 
children is not itself sin, because the good will of the soul 
directs and does not follow the consequent pleasure of the 
body.' 1 You argue against this that 'Sins do not arise from 
a thing which is free from the sin.' You think thus to destroy 
the original sin which none destroys except the Saviour you 
deny to infants; but He destroys it by freeing them from it, 
not by denying its existence. Conjugal intercourse with the 
intention of generating children is not sin, because it uses well 
the law of sin, that is to say, the concupiscence existing in 
the members of the body and warring against the law of the 
mind. If this concupiscence does not bind the parent by 
guilt, but only because he was regenerated, no wonder it 
binds the one born, because he was generated from it; there- 
fore, in order that he do not remain guilty, he also must 
be regenerated. If you could understand how your statement 
that 'Sins do not arise from a thing which is free from sin' 
helps the Manichaeans, you would wish to delete it from 
your book and from the hearts of all who have read it. If 
sins do not arise from a thing which is free from sin, then, 
as the Manichaeans say, sins have a nature of their own 
from which they arise. In Book I of this work I showed how 
you aid the Manichaeans by other declarations of the same 
kind. 2 What you say here has the same effect. Do you not 
see that if we are to overcome the Manichaeans, in addition 
to our concern with the special error by which you are 
Pelagians, we must also overcome statements of yours like 
this? You say: 'Sins do not arise from a thing which is free 
from sin,' but this is contradicted by the truth, which answers 

1 De nuptiis 1.13. 

2 Cf. above, pp. 46-53. 


you and the Manichaeans, in this opinion you share with 
them. The angel God created was free from sin; the man 
God first created was free from sin. Thus, whoever denies 
sins arise from things free from sin either is himself a Mani- 
chaean or inadvertently bears witness for the Manichaeans. 
(60) You quote other words of mine and argue as though 
I had said that, when lust serves the married in propagating 
offspring, it is then honorable. You may think what pleases 
you, but I never said this, and never held it. How is lust hon- 
orable as a servant when its master, the soul, must suppress 
it lest it rush to the excess in which its freedom consists? 
Thus, we do not say what you attribute to us: The use of 
lust always means guilt. As though we said it, you conclude 
we say: Adulterers sin less than husbands, because lust 
serves the married in sinning, but it commands adulterers. 
Since I do not make the first assumption, I do not care what 
conclusion you draw from it. I say to use lust is not always 
sin, because to use well an evil is not sin, nor does good 
use by a good man mean the thing itself must be good. Of two 
men it is written: A learned son will be wise, but he may 
use an imprudent minister 3 ; 3 is it then good to be imprudent, 
since the wise use the imprudent well? Thus, the Apostle John 
does not tell us not to use the world, but says: 'Do not love the 
world,' in which he also puts the concupiscence of the flesh. 4 
Whoever uses something and does not love it is as though 
using and not using, because he does not use it for its own 
sake, but for something else he so beholds and so loves that he 
uses the other even though he does not love it. This is why 
John's fellow Apostle says: 'Who use this world as though not 
using it.' 5 What is it to use as though not using, except that 

3 Prov. 10 (Septuagint) . 
4. 1 John 2.15,16. 
5 1 Cor. 7.31. 


they do not love what they are using, it being something they 
would otherwise do well not to use? This may also be seen 
in those things in the world which are good, but in such a 
way that they should not be loved. Who can justly say 
money itself is evil? Yet, none who loves it uses it well. 
How much more is this true of lust? For an evil spirit lusts 
after money, but money, unlike lust, does not lust against 
the good spirit; thus, both he who denies it is evil sins, and 
he who uses this evil does not sin. You argue: ( If lust is 
evil, it binds the married, whom it obeys, in greater guilt 
than the adulterers it dominates.' Your argument would be 
correct if we actually said that the married who use the evil 
of concupiscence only for their office of generating children 
use it for evil purposes, as a murderer uses a servant to 
commit his crime. But we say the office of procreation is 
good in the married, even though the one born contracts 
from the contagion of the first sin the wound which can 
be healed in him when he is reborn. It follows that good 
spouses should use the evil of concupiscence just as the wise 
use an imprudent minister for good works. 

(61) But you, with your sharp sight, censure and think 
execrable not the mode, not the genus, but only the ex- 
cess of this pleasure, because, as you say: 'It can be kept 
within the limits granted by the sovereign power of the mind.' 
Let the sovereign power of the mind bring it about, if 
it can, that lust does not arouse itself to go beyond the 
limits set by the mind. If the mind cannot do this, then 
it must resist and keep in check the faithless enemy con- 
stantly trying to transgress these limits. You protest we 
bear witness that there is total contempt for it in vir- 
gins and celibates. Do virgins and celibates, then, not war 
against the concupiscence of the flesh? What do they oppose 
in those glorious combats you proclaim, so that they may 
preserve virginity and celibacy? If they fight, they try to ex- 


pel evil, and where but in themselves? Therefore, they also 
truly say : 'In me, that is, in my flesh, no good dwells.' 

(62) You say: 'Marriage is nothing else but the union of 
bodies/ Next you say something true, that "Propagation 
cannot take place without mutual desire and the union of 
bodies and the natural act. 9 But, do you deny that adulterers 
come together with mutual desire in the natural act and 
the union of bodies? Therefore, you have not given the 
definition of marriage. Marriage itself is not the same as 
that without which not even marriage can propagate off- 
spring. Men can be born without marriage, and there can 
be spouses without the union of bodies; otherwise, to say 
no more, they will not be spouses when old, and either un- 
able to have intercourse or since they have no hope of off- 
spring, blush and do not wish to perform that act. You 
see, then, how ill considered is your definition that marriage 
is nothing else but the union of bodies. It would be more 
tolerable if you said marriage is not begun except through 
the union of bodies, because men take wives for the purpose 
of procreating children, and this cannot be done in any 
other way. But the union of bodies for the purpose of pro- 
creation would have taken place differently if there had been 
no sin; God forbid we think that that most honest happiness 
in Paradise always obeyed an aroused lust, and that that 
peace of soul and body held a cause of internal warfare in 
the first nature of man. If there was no need either to serve 
lust or to war against it, then either lust did not exist there 
or was not such as it is now, for at the present time whoever 
does not wish to serve lust must war against it; whoever 
neglects the fight must serve it. Of the two, the one, though 
praiseworthy, is an affliction; the other is base and wretched. 
In this world, then, one of these is necessary for the chaste, 
but in Paradise both were unknown to the blessed. 

(63) You think to find another contradiction in my book, 


and quote the passage where I distinguished the office of 
propagation from the desire for carnal pleasure, saying I 
assert that to have intercourse only when intending to gen- 
erate offspring, wherein there is no guilt, is not the same 
thing as to desire carnal pleasure in union, although, pro- 
vided this is with the spouse, the guilt in it is venial. 6 In so 
far as all who see the truth agree with me about this, you 
can find no evidence here of contradiction. Listen once more 
to the same words, for this should be brought home to the 
minds of those you want to deceive. You slander us, saying 
we 'permit base and criminal men to excuse themselves when 
they commit unspeakable impurities, by saying they did so 
against their will, therefore have not sinned,' as though 
we did not much more vigorously exhort them to fight 
against lust. If you, however, despite your saying lust is 
good, do not wish us to think your war against that good 
is growing cold or at least lukewarm, must we not just so 
much more wakefully and ardently fight against evil? We 
say it is against our will that our flesh lusts against our 
spirit, but not that our spirit lusts against our flesh; and 
through this good concupiscence the married refrain from 
using the lust of the flesh except for the purpose of generat- 
ing offspring, and thus they make good use of evil, which 
good use makes for honest and truly nuptial union. Use for 
the sake of pleasure, not for offspring, makes this union 
culpable, yet it may be venial when it is with the spouse. But 
the reason everyone born, even of honest union, contracts that 
which is washed away at rebirth is that the evil used well by 
the goodness of marriage exists even in honorable union. But 
what is against them at birth is not against them after rebirth; 
whence it follows that is is also against him who is born of 
them if he be not reborn. 

6 De nuptiis 1.7. 


(64) In the midst of your twisted arguments against my 
words you do not see you are once more helping the Mani- 
chaeans. You think a man born of conjugal union does not 
contract original sin, because, you say, 'Guilt cannot be 
brought forth from a work which has no guilt.' Why were 
the guilt of angel and the guilt of man brought forth from 
the work of God where there was not guilt? See how well you 
testify for those you so detest you try to conceal what you 
hold against the absolutely firm Catholic faith. If, by your 
definition, 'Guilt cannot be brought forth from a work which 
has no guilt,' then consider, since none of God's works has 
guilt: Whence was guilt brought forth? This Manichaeus, 
with your help, wishes to introduce another nature which 
by his foolish wisdom is an evil nature, to be regarded as 
that whence guilt arises, for, by your words, 'Guilt cannot 
be brought forth from a work of God.' Can this Manichaeus 
be overcome unless you are also overcome with him? Both 
angel and man are works of God, without guilt; yet guilt 
was brought forth from them when through the free will 
given them without guilt they withdrew from Him who is 
without guilt, and they were made evil, not through ad- 
mixture of evil, but through failure from good. 

(65) You say I praise the celibacy of the Christian era, 
not to inspire men to virginity, but to condemn the goodness 
of marriage, although this good was instituted by God. 
Not to be unduly disturbed by malicious suspicions about 
my soul, you say as though to test me: 'If you are really 
inviting men to strive for continence, you will admit that 
the virtue of chastity can be possessed by those who wish, 
in such a way that whoever wishes may be holy in body 
and soul.' I answer that I admit it, but not in your sense. 
You attribute this to the powers of the soul itself; I attribute 
it to the will helped by the grace of God. But what must 
be suppressed by the command of the soul, lest we sin? In 


order not to say with the Manichaeans, then, that this evil 
is mixed with us from an alien, evil nature, we must confess 
that in our nature there is something like a wound which 
must be healed; that the guilt for it has now been healed 
by regeneration. 

(66) It was in vain you listed the many wiles of the 
heretics with whom you compare me, and whose number 
I pray you may not increase. You say I must feel the weight 
of the Apostle's words naming the heretics who forbid mar- 
riage, 7 as though I said: 'After the coming of Christ, mar- 
riage is filthy.' Listen to what we actually say, and, when 
you have heard it often and in many ways, you may perhaps 
no longer dissimulate the truth by simulating deafness. We 
do not say marriage is filthy, since incontinence must be 
stayed by the soundness of marriage, lest it fall into damnable 
baseness. But the Christian teaching does not say what you 
say, in your own words: 'Man is fully capable of regulating 
the activities he possesses by birth.' We do not say this; 
we say what the Apostle says: 'Each one has his own gift 
from God.' 8 We say what our Lord says: 'Without me, 
you can do nothing 5 and 'Not all can accept this teaching, 
but those to whom it has been given'; 9 although He could 
have said, if your opinion were true, that not all accept this 
teaching, but only those who wish. I ask you: What sort 
of activities had by birth do you say a man is able to regu- 
late good or evil? If good, the spirit lusts against good, 
and two goods are hostilely opposed in man, and this 
opposition of two goods could not be good. But if these 
are evil activities, you admit that in man there are evil 
activities he possesses by birth, against which chastity fights. 
Not to be obliged to agree with the Manichaeans that there 

7 Cf. 1 Tim. 4.3. 

8 1 Cor. 7.7. 

9 John 15.5; Matt. 19.11. 


is a mixture of an alien nature of evil in us, you had better 
admit our original sickness. This sickness is the evil which con- 
jugal modesty uses well; it is the evil to which the incon- 
tinent apply the remedies of marriage, and against which 
celibates fight in glorious combats. I think, however, the 
promise I made when I began my answer to your arguments 
involving real difficulties will be more suitably fulfilled if 
I do not exceed the number of your books. This, then, 
shall end my fifth book, so that your last may be refuted 
from another standpoint. 


Chapter 1 

|E HAVE ANSWERED your third volume and now 
answer the fourth; with God's help we shall give 
you charity as well as truth. Whoever has these two 
will never be guilty of folly or envy, 1 two vices discussed at 
length at the beginning of your volume. Error must yield 
to truth, envy to charity. When you speak of folly, saying: 
'It is the mother of all vices/ you quote Scripture: 'God 
loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom.' 2 Ask your- 
self seriously whether the childish vanity which man must 
necessarily pass through on his way from infancy can dwell 
with wisdom. Consider the first-fruit born of the root you 
praise and think of the change required that he may be 
loved by God, who loves none but him who dwells with wis- 
dom. God removes what He hates from predestined infants 

1 The English words, 'foolishness,' 'folly,' 'wisdom,' and 'vanity/ which, 
as they cccur in Scripture, often have a less common if not archaic 
sense, have been kept in this translation in order to preserve the 
Scriptural allusions given by them. 

2 Wisd. 7.28. 



that His love may be for those who, delivered from vanity, 
may dwell with wisdom. If the last day takes them from the 
breast, will you dare say they dwell with wisdom outside the 
kingdom of God, which, according to you, 'the good of 
inviolate and guiltless nature' does not permit them to enter 
unless the grace of the true Saviour shall redeem and deliver 
them from the folly of deceitful speech? I shall say nothing 
of those who are feeble-minded by nature, who in the words 
of Scripture are more to be mourned than the dead. 3 The 
grace of God is indeed able to deliver them from so great 
an evil through the blood of the Mediator; but how could 
they have fallen into so great an evil unless by divine decree 
there was a punishment due a vitiated origin? 

(2) Truly there is reason for censuring, and grievously 
censuring, 'those who fail to learn the known and do not 
hesitate to disapprove the unknown. 5 Could you not say this 
of those born feeble-minded? You can find no way in which 
the evil could have befallen them under a just God, if children 
do not contract from their parents something deserving 
punishment. You say we are senselessly envious of you, in 
a sort of 'midday of known truth, where there is no shadow 
of the unknown.' But you who are without envy, why do you 
not see great evils in infants? God is good, God is just; there 
is no such thing as a nature of evil mixed with our own, as the 
Manichaeans hold. Whence come the great evils of men 
I do not mean moral evils, but evils in the very wits with 
which they are born if human origin is not vitiated and 
there is no condemned mass? Do not you, who are free of 
feeble-mindedness and envy, make envy appear both sin and 
punishment for sin? Is not envy the sin of the Devil? Is not 
that which 'immediately harasses the one in whom it arises' 
a punishment for sin? These are your own words, yet you 
thought by constant repetition to argue acutely, saying: 'One 

3 Cf. Eccli. 22.13. 


and the same fault cannot be both sin and punishment for 
sin.' But, since you are without envy, you could scarcely see 
in your other book the envy about which you speak here, 
and thus because you do not envy me, you contradict yourself. 

Chapter 2 

( 3 ) After your prologue, where, as usual, you seek to prove 
what I already hold, that 'God is the Creator of men,' you 
introduce my words: 'A man born of the concupiscence of 
the flesh is born to the world and not to God. He is born 
to God when he is reborn of water and Spirit.' 1 Mistakenly, 
you took these words to mean that whatever pertains to the 
world pertains to the Devil, because I said somewhere else 
that 'Those who are born of the union of bodies belong 
by right to the Devil' and also 'they are rescued from the 
domain of darkness when they are regenerated in Christ.' 
I shall answer your false accusation. You would like to have 
men think I said the world belongs to the domain of the Devil 
in such a way that the Devil either made the heavens and 
the earth and all things in them or that he controls them. 
I never said this; on the contrary, I detest, I refute, I condemn 
anyone who says it. I speak of the world as our Lord did 
when He said: The prince of this world is coming.' 2 He did 
not mean the Devil is the prince of the heavens and the earth 
and all things that were made through the Word, through 
the same Christ Himself, whence it is said: 'The world was 
made through him.' 3 He meant: 'The whole world is in the 
power of the evil one'; and again: "All that is in the world 
is the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the 

1 De nuptiis et concupiscentia 1.21. 

2 John 14.30. 

3 John 1.10. 


eyes, and the pride of life, which is not from the Father, but 
from the world. 54 The heavens and the earth are from the 
Father through the Son; also, the angels, the constellations, 
the trees, the animals, and men in their very substance as men 
are from the Father through the Son. The prince of the world 
is the Devil, and the world which is in the power of the wicked 
one means all men subject to eternal condemnation unless 
delivered therefrom and redeemed by the Blood which was 
shed for the remission of sins, and thus no longer under the 
prince of sinners. To this world, whose prince is the one about 
whom He who overcame the world says: 'Behold, the prince 
of the world is coming, and in me he has nothing,' 5 I say man 
is born to this world until he is reborn in Him who overcame 
the world and in whom the Prince of this world has nothing. 
(4) What is this world of which the Saviour of the world 
and the conquerer of the world says : 'The world cannot hate 
you, but it hates me, because I bear witness concerning it that 
its works are evil?' 6 Are the works of the earth and the sea, 
of the heavens and the constellations, evil works? Surely, this 
world is man. And no one is chosen for deliverance out of 
this world except by the grace of God through Jesus Christ 
the Lord, who gave His own flesh for the Kfe of the world; 
and this He would not have done if the world had not been 
in death. Which world is this about which He said to the 
Jews: 'You are of this world and I am not of this world'? 7 
Which is this world from which Jesus chose His disciples so 
that they were no longer of the world, and thus the world 
would hate them who were no longer of it? The Saviour of the 
world, the Light of the world, says: 'These things I command 
you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, know 

4 1 John 5.19; 2.16. 

5 John 16.33; 14.30. 

6 John 7.7. 

7 John 8.23. 


that it has hated me before you. If you were of the world, the 
world would love what is its own. But because you are not 
of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore 
the world hates you.' 8 If He had not added: 'I have chosen 
you out of the world,' we could think He said : 'You are not 
of the world,' in the way in which He said of Himself: 'I am 
not of the world.' But He was not likewise first of the world 
and then chosen out of it so as not to be of the world. What 
Christian would say this? Nor is it true the Son of God was 
of the world inasmuch as He deigned to be man; how can 
this be so unless because in Him there was not sin, which 
is the reason every man is born first to the world, not to God; 
and, to be born to God, he who shall be reborn so as no longer 
to be of the world must be chosen out of the world? Therefore 
He casts out the prince of this world, and testifies: 'Now 
is the judgment of the world; now will the prince of the 
world be cast out.' 9 

(5) Unless, perhaps, your rashness causes you to say I hold 
that infants are not chosen out of the world when they are 
washed by the baptism of Him of whom it is said : 'God was 
truly in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.' If you, 
denying that infants are of the world, deny they belong to this 
reconciliation, I do not know by what effrontery you are in 
the world. If you admit they are chosen out of the world 
when they pass into the Body of Christ, then it is necessary 
they be born to the world out of which they are chosen for 
rebirth, for they are born through the concupiscence of the 
flesh; reborn through the grace of the Spirit. The concu- 
piscence of the flesh is of the world; grace came into the 
world that those who were predestined before the world may 
be chosen out of the world. When the Apostle says : 'God was 
truly in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,' he adds 

8 John 15.18,19. 

9 John 12.31. 


immediately how He did this: 'not reckoning against men 
their sins.' 10 Therefore, the whole world was guilty from 
Adam, God not withholding His creative power from His own 
work, although the seeds already instituted had been vitiated 
by the paternal prevarication. When the world is reconciled 
through Christ, it is delivered from the world, when it is 
delivered by Him who came into the world, not to be chosen, 
but Himself to choose, not by election of merits, but by election 
of grace, because a remnant is saved according to the election 
of grace. 11 

Chapter 3 

(6) You next quote my words: 'Regeneration alone remits 
the guilt of concupiscence, and thus generation continues 
to contract it.' I added immediately: 'Therefore, what is 
generated must be regenerated, so that what has been con- 
tracted may be remitted in that same way, for it cannot be 
remitted otherwise.' 1 In another futile attempt to conceal your 
suspicion that baptism is superfluous in infants, you say : 'The 
grace of the mysteries of Christ is rich in many gifts.' Whether 
you will or not, we hold that infants believe in Christ through 
the hearts and voices of those who carry them. Hence, the 
sentence of our Lord, 'He who does not believe shall be con- 
demned,' 2 also pertains to them. For what reason, and in what 
justice, if they contract no sin by way of origin? You say: 
'Here, rather, He approves them as His own, because, even 
before they could use their will, He exalts what He has done 
in them.' If He approves these as His own, then He does not 

10 2 Cor. 5.19. 

11 Cf. Rom. 115.* 

1 De nuptiis 151. 

2 Mark 16.1. 


approve as His own those to whom He does not give added 
favors. But, since the others are also His, and for the same 
reason, that He created them, why does He not also approve 
of them as His own? Here you say nothing to exclude fate 
or respect for persons. Then, admit grace with us. What else 
is there, if none of these? In one and the same situation, one 
is left, by an act of justice, not by fate; another is taken, by the 
gift of grace, not by merit. 

(7) Your contention that infants are not cleansed even 
of original sin by regeneration is without foundation. He who 
said : 'All we who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have 
been baptized into his death,' surely did not except infants 
when he said 'all who.' What is it to be baptized into the 
death of Christ but to die to sin? He also says of Him in 
another passage : 'The death that he died he died to sin once 
for all.' This was said because of the likeness of sinful flesh, 
because of which there is also the great mystery of His cross, 
where 'our old man is crucified with him that the body of sin 
may be destroyed.' If infants, then, are baptized into Christ, 
they are baptized into His death; but if they are baptized into 
His death, they who have been united with Him in the 
likeness of His death die to sin. 'For the death that he died, 
he died to sin once for all, but the life that he lives, he lives 
unto God.' And what does it mean to be united with Him 
in the likeness of His death except what follows: 'Thus 
do you consider yourselves also as dead to sin but alive to God 
in Christ Jesus.' 3 Are we to say that Jesus died to sin which 
He never had? God forbid. Yet, that He died to sin, He died 
once for all; His death signified our sin through which death 
itself came. When He died to death that is, so that He would 
no more be mortal He is said to have died to sin. Through 
His grace we in the sinful flesh carry out what He signified 
in the likeness of sinful flesh, so that as He by dying to the 

3 Rom. 6.3.11. 


likeness of sin is said to be dead to sin; so, whoever is baptized 
into Him dies to that same reality of which His flesh was 
a likeness. And as there was true death in His true flesh, so 
there is true remission in true sins. 

Chapter 4 

(8) If that whole passage of the Apostle's letter fails 
to overcame your perversity, you are obdurate indeed. Though 
everything he says when he writes to the Romans to commend 
the grace of God through Jesus Christ is connected with 
it, we cannot quote and discuss the entire Epistle now, for 
it is very long. Let us, then, consider the chapter we have been 
dealing with, where he says: 'God commends his charity 
towards us because when as yet we were sinners Christ died 
for us. 51 You would have infants excluded from this statement. 
May I ask you: If they are not among sinners, how did He 
who died for sinners die for them? You will answer He did 
not die for sinners only, although He died also for sinners. 
Nowhere will you find in the sacred authors that Christ died 
also for those who had no sin at all. But see how hard pressed 
you are by valid testimonies. You say He died also for sinners; 
I say He died for none but sinners. Thus, if I am right, you 
must answer that if infants are bound by no sin, He did not 
die for infants. The Apostle says to the Corinthians: 'Since 
one died for all, therefore all died, and Christ died for all.' 2 
You must admit, then, that Jesus died for none but the dead. 
Then, who are the dead in this passage? Those who have 
departed from the body? Who is so foolish as to think this 
is wise? The dead, then, for all of whom Christ died, should 
be understood in the way in which he says elsewhere: 'And 


1 Rom. 15.8,9. 

2 Cor. 5.14,15. 


you, when you were dead by reason of your sins and the 
uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought to life along with 
him.' 3 Again, he says: 'One died for all, therefore all died,' 
showing it cannot be so that He died for any but the dead, 
for from the fact that one died for all he proved that all died. 
I repeat, I re-enforce, I hold this openly. Accept it, for it 
brings health, and I do not want you to die. 'One died for all, 
therefore all died.' See how he insists it follows that all died 
if He died for all. Since this death is not in the body, it follows 
that all for whom Christ died died in sin. No one who is 
a Christian will deny or doubt it. Hence, if infants contract 
no sin, they are not dead. If they are not dead, He who died 
for none but the dead did not die for them. If you will heed 
your first volume, where you said: 'Christ died also for 
infants,' you cannot deny that they contract original sin. 
Whence did they die, if not for this reason? Because of what 
death of infants did He die who died for none but the dead? 
You admit He died for infants. Then return with me to the 
discussion of the Epistle to the Romans. 

(9) The Apostle says: 'God commends his charity towards 
us, because when as yet we were sinners, Christ died for us.' 
'When we were yet sinners,' he says, that is, when we were 
dead, 'Christ died for us. Much more, now that we are 
justified by his blood, shall we be saved through him from 
the wrath. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled 
to God by the death of his Son, much more, having been 
reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.' This is what he says 
elsewhere: 'God was truly in Christ, reconciling the world 
to himself.' 4 He continues: 'Not this only, but we exult also 
in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.' He says: 'Not only 
saved, but also exulting, through whom we have now received 
reconciliation.' Then, as though someone asked why the 

3 Col. 2.13. 

4 2 Cor. 5.19. 


reconciliation was made through one man, the Mediator, 
he says: 'Therefore as through one man sin entered into the 
world and through sin death, and thus death has passed unto 
all men; in whom all have sinned,' Then, what of the Law? 
Was it able to reconcile? No, he says: Tor until the Law 
sin was in the world, 5 that is, not even the Law could take 
away sin. 'But sin is not imputed when there is no law.' 
There was sin, to be sure, but sin was not imputed because 
it was not recognized. We read in another passage: Tor 
through law comes recognition of sin.' 5 'And yet death reigned 
from Adam until Moses,' because its kingdom was not taken 
away even through Moses, that is, not through the Law.' But 
it reigned even over those who did not sin.' Why did it ruie 
them if they did not sin? This is why: 'in the likeness of the 
transgression of Adam, who is the form of the one to come.' 6 
Adam gave to his posterity, even though not having sins of its 
own, the form that those begotten through his carnal con- 
cupiscence should die from the contagion of the paternal sin. 7 
The Apostle says: 'But not like the offense is the gift. For 
if by the offense of the one many died, much more the grace 
of God and the gift in the grace of the one man Jesus Christ 
abounded unto the many.' It has surely abounded much 
more, because those in whom it abounds die in time, but will 
live eternally. 'Nor is the gift as it was in the case of one man's 
sin, for the judgment was from one man unto condemnation, 
but grace is from many offenses unto justification.' Truly, 
that one sin was able to draw to condemnation; yet grace 

5 Rom. 3.20. 

6 'In similitudine,' inquit, 'praevaricationis Adae, qui est forma futuri.' 
Dedit enim ex se formam posteris suis, quamvis peccata propria non 
habentibus, ut peccati paterni contagione morerentur, qui per ejus 
carnalem concupiscentiam gignerentur. 

7 Augustine was also familiar with the more common interpretation 
of this passage of Scripture, and he accepted it without question, as 
is shown by his remarks on Chrysostom's statement about it, in 
Book 1; cf, above, pp. 32-33. 


has taken away not only the one sin, but also the many that 
have been added to it. Tor if by reason of the one man's 
offense death reigned through the one man; much more will 
they who receive the abundance of the grace and of the gift 
of justice reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.' He 
repeats the earlier sense because those who reign eternally 
will have much greater power in life than death with its 
temporary sway: 'Therefore as from the offense of the one 
man the result was unto condemnation to all men; so from 
the justice of the one the result is unto justification of life.' 
He says it is all, in both instances, because none is unto death 
except through the former, and none is unto life except 
through the latter. Tor as by the disobedience of one man 
many were constituted sinners, so also by the obedience of the 
one the many will be constituted just. Now the law intervened 
that the offense might abound. But where the offense has 
abounded, grace has abounded yet more; so that as sin has 
reigned unto death, so also grace may reign by justice unto 
life everlasting through Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 

(10) 'What then shall we say? Shall we continue to sin 
that grace may abound? By no means !' If we continue in sin, 
of what benefit is grace? He continues: 'For how shall we 
who are dead to sin still live in it?' Mark what follows: 'Do 
you not know that all we who have been baptized into Christ 
Jesus have been baptized into his death?' Are baptized infants 
included or not? If not, then these words are false: 'All we 
who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized 
into his death/ because infants, you say, have been baptized, 
but not into His death. Since what the Apostle says is true, 
there can be no exception. If you think he means only adults 
with the use of free will when he says all, our fear is idle when 
we hear the words of our Lord: 'Unless a man be born again 
of water and the Spirit.' Here you have an important sum- 
mation: Say Christ also was speaking only of adults, and 


infants were not included in the universality of His words. 
What use is it for you to investigate the matter of baptism, 
asking whether there is eternal life outside the kingdom of 
God, or whether so many innocent images of God are deprived 
of eternal life and thus committed to eternal death? If you 
dare not say this because of the universality of His words: 
'Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he can- 
not enter into the kingdom of God,' 8 you are confronted with 
the same universality in the words of the Apostle: 'All we 
who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been bap- 
tized into his death.' Therefore, infants also who have been 
baptized into Christ have died to sin because they have been 
baptized into His death. We reach the same conclusion from 
previous statements : 'How shall we who are dead to sin still 
live in it? As though we asked what it is to die to sin, he 
answers: 'Do you not know that all we who have been bap- 
tized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death?' 
This he proves by what he said before: 'How shall we who 
are dead to sin still live in it?' Thus, those who know they 
were baptized into the death of Christ when they were bap- 
tized into Christ may also know that they have died to sin, 
because to be baptized into the death of Christ is nothing 
else but to die to sin. To explain the matter even more 
clearly: 'For we were buried with him by means of baptism 
into death, in order that just as Christ has arisen from the 
dead through the glory of the Father, so we also may walk 
in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in the 
likeness of his death, we shall also be so in the likeness of his 
resurrection. For we know that our old man has been cruci- 
fied with him in order that the body of sin may be destroyed, 
that we may no longer be slaves to sin; for he who is dead 
is acquitted of sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe 
we shall also live together with Christ; for we know that 

8 John 3.5. 


Christ, having risen from the dead, dies now no more, death 
shall no longer have dominion over him. For the death that 
he died he died to sin once for all; but the life that he lives, 
he lives unto God.' 9 If, therefore, infants do not die to sin, 
they are not baptized into the death of Christ. If they are 
not baptized into the death of Christ, they are not baptized 
into Christ, for 'All we who have been baptized into Christ 
Jesus have been baptized into his death.' But they are indeed 
baptized into Christ; therefore they die to sin. To what sin 
but original sin, which they have contracted? Let men's 
arguments cease: The Lord knows the thoughts of men, that 
they are vain.' 10 He has hidden these things from the wise 
and prudent, and revealed them to little ones. 11 If you do not 
like the Christian faith, say so; you will not find another 
Christian faith. There is one man unto life; there is one unto 
death. The one is only man; the other is God and man. 
Through the one the world was made the enemy of God; 
through the other the world chosen from the world is recon- 
ciled to God. For, 'As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will 
be made to live. Therefore even as we have borne the image 
of the earthy, let us also bear the image of the heavenly. 12 
Whoever tries to undermine these foundations of the Christ- 
ian faith will himself be destroyed, but they will remain firm. 

Chapter 5 

(11) In my book there is a true statement which you do 
not accept: That what has been remitted in the parent 
is contracted in the offspring happens in wondrous manner; 

9 Rom. 5.8,6,11. 

10 Ps. 93.11. 

11 Cf. Matt. 11.25. 

12 1 Cor. 15.22,48. 


yet it does happen, and, because the manner is not easily 
understood nor easily expressed, it is not admitted by unbe- 
lievers.' 1 Why do you give my words dishonestly as though 

1 had said: 'Reason cannot understand it, nor words express 
it?' You leave out what I really said: that it is not easily 
understood or expressed. It is not the same to say a thing 
cannot be done at all and to say it cannot be done easily; 
your statement is more than calumny. No matter what dif- 
ficulty there may be in the thought and word, this has been 
proclaimed throughout the whole Church and believed from 
ancient times as the true Catholic faith. The Church would 
not exorcise and exsufflate the infants of the faithful if she 
were not rescuing them from the power of darkness and from 
the prince of death. I wrote this in my book which you are 
supposedly refuting, but you were afraid to mention it, as 
though you yourself would be exsufflated by the whole world, 
if you were to contradict this exsufflation by which even from 
infants the prince of this world is cast out. 2 Your meaningless 
arguments are not against me, but against our common 
spiritual mother; you would not have her bring forth children 
now in the way she brought you forth. You strike her very 
heart by what you regard as adequately sharp weapons, sum- 
moning arguments from the justice of God against the justice 
of God, from the grace of God against the grace of God. This, 
then, is the true justice of God: if the heavy yoke upon the 
children of Adam from the day of their coming out of their 
mother's womb 3 is not unjust. How is that heavy yoke not 
unjust if there is no evil in infants which makes it just that 
a heavy yoke oppress them? This is the true grace of God: 
when thing and word are in agreement. How could this be if 
grace exsufflates him in whom it knows there is nothing 

l..De nuptiis 1.21. 

2 Ibid. 1.22. 

3 Cf. Eccli. 40.1. 


to expel, if it washes him in whom it knows there is nothing 
to wash away? 

(12) Would you or your associates believe you are saying 
anything, if with a pure mind you could realize how great 
is the evil of concupiscence of the flesh (when what is born 
of it must needs be reborn, and what is not reborn must 
be condemned) ; if you could realize what grace confers when, 
making full remission of sins in him, it absolves man of the 
guilt of this evil, by which concupiscence made him guilty by 
way of origin; even though it itself remains and the spirit of the 
one regenerated wars against it, either using it well in the 
lesser contest, or refraining entirely from its use, in the greater 
contest? For we are aware of this evil in its opposition or our 
restraint of it. Just as the guilt which was remitted only by 
regeneration was not sensed when it inhered, so its removal 
is accepted by faith, but not sensed by the flesh or the mind. 
Thus you throw yourself -into the obscurity of this matter, and 
against a truth which cannot be demonstrated for the per- 
ception of extremely carnal men. But your keenness for battle 
is in proportion to your unbelief. 

(13) But, 'Transform thyself as thou wilt, and collect what 
strength of courage or skill is thine,' 4 'All we who have been 
baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death. 9 
Hence, it is true we died to sin in the death of Christ, a death 
without sin. As a result, both adults and infants have died. 
It is not true that the former and not the latter, or the latter 
and not the former, but 'All we who have been baptized into 
Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death.' Therefore, 
we were buried with him by means of baptism into death.' 
This includes infants, because 'All we who have been baptized 
into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death. And 
as Christ has risen from the dead through the glory of the 
Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have 

4 Virgil, Aeneas 12.889-890. 


been united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall 
be so in the likeness of his resurrection also.' Infants have also 
been united in the likeness of His death, for this applies to all 
who have been baptized into Christ Jesus. Tor we know 
that our old man has been crucified with him.' What old man, 
unless it be 'All we who have been baptized into Christ'? 
Infants must be included, because they have been baptized 
into Christ. And what is the meaning of 'our old man has 
been crucified with him'? He says: 'In order that the body 
of sin may be destroyed, that we may no longer be slaves 
to sin.' Because of this body of sin, 'God sent his Son in the 
likeness of sinful flesh.' 6 By what impudence do you deny that 
infants also have the body of sin, when his words refer to all 
who have been baptized into Christ? Tor he who is dead 
is acquitted of sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe 
that we shall also live together with Christ; for we know that 
Christ, having risen from the dead, dies now no more, death 
shall no longer have dominion over him. For the death that 
he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life that he lives, 
he lives unto God.' He says: 'Thus do you consider yourselves 
also dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.' To whom 
is he speaking? Are you fully attentive? Surely he is speaking 
to those to whom he said: c lf we have died with Christ.' And 
who are they except those to whom he said: 'Our old man 
has been crucified with him in order that the body of sin may 
be destroyed'? Who are they but those to whom he said: 
*We have been united with him in the likeness of his death'? 
Who are they except those to whom he said: 'We were buried 
with him by means of baptism into death'? You will discover 
to whom he spoke if you will read the earlier words with 
which these are connected : 'Do you not know that all we who 
have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into 
his death?' What did he mean when he said this? Read back 

5 Rom. 8.3. 


a bit and you will find: 'How shall we who arc dead to sin 
still live in it?' Then, either acknowledge that infants died 
to sin in baptism and confess that they had original sin to 
which to die, or admit frankly that they were not baptized 
into the death of Christ when they were baptized into Christ, 
and then accuse the Apostle of lying when he said: 'All 
we who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been bap- 
tized into his death/ 

(14) I hold on to the celestial weapons that conquer 
Celestius; to them I commit my faith and my speech. Your 
arguments are human; these weapons are divine. 'Who can 
understand sins?' 6 Are they, then, not sins? Who understands 
the original sin which is remitted in a regenerated parent yet 
passes to the offspring and remains there unless the offspring 
also is regenerated? Is it, then, not sin? 'One died for all, 
therefore all died. 5 With what heart, what speech, what 
countenance do you deny that infants have also died, when 
you do not deny Christ died for them? What is the meaning 
of their baptism if Christ did not die for them? 'For all we 
who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized 
into his death. 9 But, if the one who died for all died also for 
infants, then infants also have died together with all. And 
because they have died in sin they also die to sin to live to God 
when they are reborn through God's grace. What if I cannot 
explain how the living generates the dead (a parent dead 
to sin and living to God generates one dead in sin so that 
by regeneration he may die to sin and live to God) ; is it false 
because this cannot be explained in words or only with the 
greatest difficulty? Deny, if you dare, that he is born dead 
for whom you do not deny that Christ died. 'One died for 
all, therefore all died.' 7 These are the words of the Apostle 
but they are our weapons. If you are not prepared to oppose 

6 Ps. 18.13. 

7 2 Cor. 5.14. 


them, then remember you must believe without doubting, 
even if you do not understand. A man born spiritually who 
begets carnally has both seeds: the immortal seed whence 
he has life and the mortal seed whence he generates the dead. 
The death of Christ would not have been necessary to give 
life to the offspring if the offspring were not born dead. 'One 
died for all, therefore all died.' You will not raise them from 
that death by exclaiming they are not dead. Rather, you will 
keep them from life if through the devices of ungodly argu- 
ments you attack the faith of their parents through which 
alone they can be restored to life. 

Chapter 6 

(15) We have now reached your wordy and pretentious 
discussion in which you try to refute an illustration I thought 
might throw a little light on a matter very difficult to under- 
stand; namely 'that the seed of an olive tree may degenerate 
into a wild olive. 5 You sought to brush it aside in the state- 
ment: 'Illustrations are of no value when used in reference 
to something that of its very nature cannot be defended.' Why, 
then, does the Apostle, immediately after raising the question 
of how the dead rise again, and with what body, undertake 
to show by an example a thing unknown and of which we have 
no experience? He says: 'Senseless man, what thou thyself 
sowest is not brought to life unless it dies.' 2 His example is not 
altogether inappropriate for the matter in hand. Wheat 
is cleansed of chaff as man is cleansed of sin, yet other wheat 
sprouts from it with chaff. 

1 The wild olive, or oleaster, is used in Africa even today in propaga- 
tion of the olive by grafting. Augustine develops this illustration in 
detail and uses it more than once in De nuptiis et concttpiscentia; 
cf. 1.2137,38. 

2 1 Cor. 15.36. 


(16) What did you have in mind about the crocodile 
when you said: 'Albinus affirms that it is the only animal 
whose upper jaw moves. The fire which means destruction 
to most things is sport for the salamander.' Are not these 
examples rather against you than for you, since you have 
found something which shows the possibility of what is gener- 
ally denied? Hence, when you categorically deny that those 
who beget can transmit to their offspring something which 
they themselves do not have, then if something is found which 
can do this, you are refuted; just as the crocodile refutes him 
who says that animals can move only their lower jaw, and 
he who says no animal can live in fire is unanswerably silenced 
when given the facts about the salamander. When you declare 
that 'Natural things cannot be transformed by an accident,' 
it follows that if only a single person be found who, maimed 
by chance, generates offspring with the same faults, so that 
the accident in the parent becomes natural in the offspring, 
your statement is nullified. Again you say: 'A parent cannot 
transmit to his offspring that which he himself does not have.' 
Will not your statement be invalidated if it is shown that off- 
spring with all their members intact may be born of parents 
who have lost some of their members? Our elders report they 
both knew and saw Fundanius, a Carthaginian orator, who 
accidentally lost the sight of one eye and generated a son with 
Only one eye. This example answers your proposition that 
'Natural things cannot be transformed by an accident.' That 
which was an accident in the father was natural for the son. 
Your other proposition, 'Parents cannot transmit to their 
offspring what they themselves do not have,' is answered 
in the case of another son of Fundanius, who, as is usual, 
was born with two eyes, from a parent who had but one eye. 
There are numberless children born with sight from blind 
parents, who transmit to their offspring what they themselves 


do not have. In your blind observations you resemble these 
parents more than do their own offspring. 

Chapter 7 

(17) Although many of your words are irrelevant, you 
urge me to keep to the point, saying : 'We marvel less at things 
we can fully grasp. Against this fault in human curiosity the 
divine plan has provided that the earth produce very many 
things distinguished by very many properties.' This is indeed 
the usefulness of the hidden works of God, lest they be 
despised because common and cease to be wonderful because 
comprehended. We read in Scripture: 'Just as thou knowest 
not how the bones are joined together in the womb of her 
who is with child, so thou knowest not the works of God who 
is the maker of all.' 1 You have said truly that because we 
marvel less at things we can fully grasp, the works of God 
are incomprehensible, in order to oppose such curiosity. Why, 
then, do you try by human conjecture to destroy what you are 
much less able to comprehend in the divine reason? I did not 
say (as you falsely accuse me) : 'It can be understood by no 
reasoning,' but: 'It cannot be understood by an easy reason- 
ing.' What if God has also willed to conceal this matter in the 
way He conceals many things, so that it is beyond investiga- 
tion and comprehension by human conjecture? If this were 
also done to keep human curiosity from holding as common 
what it fully grasps, are you then bound to array yourself 
against your mother the Church with your puny reasons that 
are like little parricidal daggers, and thus look for the hidden 
force of her sacrament by which she conceives those infants 
who, though born of parents already cleansed, have also to be 
cleansed? Thus you seek, not gently, but laceratingly, the 

1 Eccli. 11.5. 


bones in the womb of her who is with child. If I did not 
hesitate to tire the reader, I could overwhelm you with 
a thousand things that creep incomprehensibly as though 
through deserted wildernesses, acting contrary to the usual 
way of nature; such as seeds degenerating, not to a different 
genus (not even the wild olive differs from the cultivated 
olive as does the vine), but to what might be called a like 
unlikeness. Thus, the wild vine is unlike the cultivated vine, 
yet the wild vine may be produced from the seed of the vine. 
Why may we not hold that this was the will of the Creator: 
so that we might believe that the seed of man can contract 
a fault which is not in those by whom it is begotten; so that 
the baptized also would hasten with their infants to His grace, 
which rescues men from the power of darkness and transfers 
them to His kingdom as no doubt your father hastened with 
you, not knowing how ungrateful you were going to be for 
that grace. 

(18) As a very keen observer of nature you have discovered 
its limits and its laws, saying: 'By the very nature of things 
it cannot be proved that parents transmit what it is believed 
they do not possess. If they transmit it, they have not lost 
it.' These are Pelagian doctrines you ought now to reject, 
since you have read and quoted from our work to worthy 
Marcellinus. 2 Pelagius, in his first period, said of believing 
parents: 'They could not have transmitted to their posterity 
what they themselves in no way possessed.' The falsity of this 
proposition is clearly shown by examples : some already given, 
some I shall mention briefly now* Is there any part of the 
foreskin retained by a circumcized man, whence a man may 
yet be born with a foreskin? Therefore, what is no longer 
in man is derived from the seed of man. We believe the com- 
mandment to circumcize infants on the eighth day was 
divinely given to the ancient fathers to signify the regenera- 

2 De peccatorum mentis et remissione 3.3,8,9. 


tion which is made in Christ, who after the seventh day, the 
Sabbath, on which He lay in tht tomb delivered up for our 
sins, rose again on the following day, that is, on the eighth day 
in the sequence of the weeks, rose again for our justification. 3 
Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of sacred Scripture 
knows that the sacrament of circumcision was a figure of bap- 
tism, for the Apostle says in the clearest terms of Christ: 
4 Who is the head of every Principality and Power, in whom 
too you have been circumcised with a circumcision not 
wrought by hand, but through putting off the body of the 
flesh, a circumcision which is of Christ. For you were buried 
together with him in baptism, and in him also rose again 
through faith in the working of God who raised him from 
the dead. And you, when you were dead by reason of your 
sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought to life 
along with him, forgiving you all your sins.' 4 The circumcision 
wrought by hand, given to Abraham, is a likeness of the 
circumcision not wrought by hand, which is now made 
in Christ. 

(19) 5 It cannot be said that this foreskin is the body, while 
that which is contracted by way of origin is a fault; and 
that, although the foreskin has been cut off, its force cannot 
have been removed from the seed, while the fault which 
is not the body but is an accident cannot reside in the seed 
after it has been removed by pardon. No cunning can sup- 
port this, since it is refuted by the divine authority com- 
manding that that special part of the body be cut off for 
the purging of this fault. This fault would never have come 
to the infants from whom it had to be removed by circum- 
cision, unless it had been in the seed. If it had never come 

3 Cf. Rom. 4.25. 

4 Col. 2.10.13. 

5 Paragraph 19 is omitted in the three Vatican and the two Gallican 


to them, then it would never have had to be removed through 
that circumcision of the body. Since an infant has no personal 
sin, then it must be original sin that was taken from them 
by that remedy without which their soul would perish from 
their people. Such a thing would not happen under the just 
God unless there were guilt by which it might happen. Since 
this is not personal guilt, it can only be the guilt of vitiated 

(20) The circumcized transmits to the man born of him 
something he himself does not possess. What, then, about 
your proposition: 'From the very nature of things, it cannot 
be proved that men transmit what it is believed they do not 
possess'? The foreskin is good, not evil, because God made 
it as you have argued at length in regard 10 the wild olive. 
We answer this objection of yours : The wild olive is naturally 
good, but in the language of mysteries it signifies evil, as do 
wolves, foxes, swine wallowing in the slough of filth, the dog 
returning to its own vomit. They are all good in nature, just 
as sheep are good. God made all things very good. 6 But 
in sacred Scripture wolves signify wicked men; sheep signify 
the good. When we discuss the difference between good men 
and bad, we use these likeness, not as they are in themselves 
in nature, but according to their signification in literature. 
Thus, the foreskin is a part of the human body, the whole 
of which is a good substance, a natural good; but by figure 
it signifies an evil, when an infant is commanded to be circum- 
cized on the eighth day because of Christ, in whom the 
Apostle says we have been circumcized by circumcision 
not wrought by hand, the circumcision wrought by hand 
undeniably prefiguring it. Thus, the foreskin is not sin, but 
it signifies sin, and, above all, original sin, for the origin 
of those who are born is through that member, and through 
that sin we are said to be by nature children of wrath, for 

6 Gen. 1.31. 


that member also properly called nature. The circumcision 
of the flesh, then, more than refutes with certainty your sup- 
posedly general proposition that Trom the very nature of 
things, a parent cannot transmit to his offspring what he him- 
self does not possess. 5 Since the foreskin signifies sin, and 
since something no longer in the parent is found in the off- 
spring, it follows that the original sin which has already been 
remitted in rebaptized parents remains in the infants, unless 
they also are baptized, that is, cleansed by spiritual circum- 
cision. Thus, what you deny is most true; for those who deny 
original sin can find no reason why the infant of whom it is 
said : 'That soul shall be destroyed out of his people unless he is 
circumcised on the eight day, 57 should perish under the 
just judge. 

(21) Let us leave the forests of wild olives and the moun- 
tains of olives of Africa and Italy. Let us not ask the husband- 
men, who would probably give you one answer and me 
another, with no easy solution for either of us, whether a tree 
planted by way of experiment will yield shade to our children's 
children on a later day. 8 We have an olive tree, not African, 
not Italian, but Hebrew, in which we, being a wild olive, 
rejoice to be grafted. 9 To that olive tree was given the circum- 
cision which solves the question for us without argument. 
The offspring contracts the foreskin which the parent no 
longer possesses; the parent did not have it, yet handed 
it down; lost it, yet transmitted it; and this foreskin signifies 
sin. Thus, the sin also can cease to be in the parents, yet pass 
to the children. Even the infant bears mute witness: My 
soul shall be destroyed out of my people if I am not circum- 
cized on the eighth day; you who deny original sin and con- 
fess a just God, tell me how I have sinned. Since your loquac- 

7 Gen. 17.14,12. 

8 Cf. Virgil, Georgics 2.58. 

9 Cf. Rom. 11.16-24. 


ity cannot give a reasonable answer to the mutely pleading 
infant, it would be better for you to join your voice to ours, 
which is in union with the voice of the Apostles. We are free 
to inquire about the kinds and the existence of other con- 
tagions of sins from parents whether the quest be easy, dif- 
ficult, or even impossible. But the words Through one man 
sin entered into the world and through sin death, and thus 
death has passed unto all men; in whom all have sinned.' 10 
must be believed in the sense that all men, for all of whom 
Christ died, died in the sin of the first man; and that all 
whosoever are baptized into Christ die to sin. 

Chapter 8 

(22) You claim that in some of my statements which you 
seek to refute I tried to arouse the people against you. I said: 
'The Christian faith which recent heretics have begun to 
attack never doubts that those who are washed in the laver 
of regeneration are redeemed from the power of the Devil; 
and those who have not yet been redeemed by this regenera- 
tion, even infant children of redeemed men, are captive 
under the power of that same Devil, unless they also are 
redeemed by the same grace.' 1 In proof, I said: The good- 
ness of God, of which the Apostle says: "Who hath rescued 
us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the 
kingdom of his beloved Son," 2 applies to all ages of men.' 
If this statement has aroused the people against you, should 
you not, rather, be impressed by the fact that Catholic belief 
is so widespread and deeply rooted in all, even in popular 

10 Rom. 5.12. 

1 De nuptiis 1.22. 

2 Col. 1.13. 


knowledge? Indeed, it was necessary that all Christians 
know everything that has to be done for their infants in 
reference to the Christian mysteries. But why do you say 
that I have 'forgotten about the single combat and have 
taken refuge in the people 3 ? Who promised you a single 
combat with me? Where? When? With what witnesses? With 
what rules? You say: 'Rejoicing that offer of treaty stays 
the war.' 3 Thus, the strife of all is to cease when ours ceases. 
God forbid that I among Catholics should arrogate to myself 
the role you are not ashamed to assume among Pelagians. 
I am but one of many who refute your profane innovations, 
each according to his ability, as God has apportioned to each 
of us the measure of faith. 4 Before I was born to this world 
and before I was reborn to God, many Catholic teachers 
had already refuted your future errors. In two of the fore- 
going books I spoke of them as clearly as I knew how. You 
have a court of appeal, if it is still your pleasure to rave 
against the Catholic faith. 

(23) You are not ridiculing the members of Christ when 
you call them 'workmen of the stalls.' Remember, God chose 
the weak things of the world to put to shame the strong. 5 
What do you mean by saying that when you begin to give 
them evidence they will become even more aroused against 
me? Do not lie to them, and this will not happen. Despite 
your slander, I do not assert that those I know have been 
redeemed by the blood of Christ are 'the property of the 
Devil.' I do not 'ascribe marriage to the Devil,' in so far 
as it is marriage. I do not regard him as 'the author of the* 
reproductive members of the body.' I do not assert that the 
Devil 'arouse men to none but unlawful acts,' or that 'he 
impregnates women,' or that 'he is the creator of infants.' 

3 Virgil, Aeneas 12.109 

4 Cf. Rom. 12.3. 

5 Cf. 1 Cor. 1.27. 


If you accuse me of such things to the people, you are lying. 
And if any of them should believe you and become angry 
at me, he would be deceived but not enlightened. Those 
who know both of us and also know the Catholic faith do not 
wish to be enlightened by you; rather, they avoid you lest 
you take from them what they already know. Many among 
them learned, even before my time, these things which your 
new error attacks. Since I only discovered, did not cause, their 
association with the truth you deny, how could I be the 
author of this which you think their error? 

Chapter 9 

(24) You ask: 'Explain how sin can justly be ascribed 
to that person who did not will to sin and was not able 
to sin.' The commission of personal sins is not the same as the 
contagion of another's sin, considering a man actually living 
his own life. If you were not intent on distorting the cor- 
rect meaning to your perverted notion you would understand 
how the Apostle explains this briefly when he says there was 
one man in whom all sinned. In that one all died, so that 
another one man might die for all. 'Since one died for all, 
therefore all died' 1 for whom Christ died. Deny, then, that 
Christ also died for infants, so that you may exclude them 
from the number of the dead, that is, from the contagion 
of sins. You ask: 'How could a matter of will be mixed with 
the creation of the seeds?' If this could not happen, we could 
have no reason to say that infants not yet departed from 
the body are dead. If Christ also died for them, they also 
died; 'Since one died for all, therefore all died.' Do you not 
realize, Julian, these are not my words, but the words of the 
Apostle? Why do you ask me how this took place, when you 

1 2 COT. 5.15. 


see it did take place, in some way or other, if you believe 
the Apostle, who could by no means have spoken falsely 
about Christ and about those for whom Christ died? 

(25) One minded as you could speak as perversely and 
erroneously about God as you do about infants; saying that 
God is ever more active for the gain of His own enemy, 
because He does not cease to create, nourish, and clothe 
those He knows will not only be under the power of the 
Devil for a time, but will burn forever with him, and He 
also sustains them in life and health as they continue to sin 
wickedly. God acts in this way because He knows how to use 
well both the good and the evil; and the Devil cannot by any 
device of wickedness withdraw even himself, let alone those 
whom he oppresses and deceives, from the power of God. 
Thus, those who are rescued from the power of the Devil 
do not belong to the Devil; while those who really belong 
to him are, as he himself, in the power of God. 

(26) How vain, then, is your self-styled acumen when 
you assert: 'The Devil and God entered into a covenant 
with each other, to the effect that whatever is laved belongs 
to God ; whatever is born belongs to the Devil, in accordance 
with the law, 5 as you say, 'that God through payment of the 
power He has pledged shall make fertile the union of the 
sexes which the Devil instituted.' The Devil did not institute 
the union of the sexes, because this would have existed if no 
one had sinned; but in such a way that your protege either 
would not have existed or would not have been restless. 
Moreover, the power of God by which He makes fruitful the 
wombs of women is not a power payable on demand, but 
free and all-powerful, even when the womb bears diabolical 
vessels. Just as God gives to evil men, so, too, free from 
all necessity, through His invincible power and faultless 
truth, He gives with gratuitous goodness growth, form, 
life, health, and welfare to seeds vitiated from their origin, 


yet in which the substance God created is good. Because 
what is laved and what is born are equally in the power 
of God, as also the Devil himself, for what purpose did you 
distinguish the two? Did you wish to say it is better to be born 
than to be laved; or that it is better to be laved because this 
also involves being born? For one who has not been born 
cannot be laved. Did you consider them of equal value? 
If you think it is better to be born, you do injury to spiritual 
regeneration, for then by a sacrilegious error you put carnal 
generation above it. It would seem you do not wish to say 
'what is reborn,' but prefer 'laved, 5 seeking to dishonor God 
by the use of an ignoble word, and thus to make it appear 
we hold that the Devil and God divided shares between 
them. You could have said 'what is reborn 5 or 'what is 
regenerated 5 or, finally, you could have said 'what is bap- 
tized, 5 since Latin usage understands this Greek derivative 
to apply only in the sacrament of regeneration. You did not 
choose to say any of these, but chose the word that would 
make what you were saying contemptible. No one could 
prefer born to reborn, or to regenerated, or to baptized, but 
you thought that born might easily be preferred to laved. 
But, if to be laved and thus bear the image of the heavenly 
man is better than to be born and thus bear the image of the 
earthy, 2 the two as far apart as heaven and earth, then your 
invidious division vanishes. Nor should we be surprised that 
God would claim for Himself the image of the heavenly 
man received in His sacred laving, while He permitted the 
image of the earthy man, soiled with earthy impurity, 
to be under the power of the Devil until he be reborn in 
Christ to receive the image of the heavenly man. 

(27) Perhaps you regard being laved and being born 
as of equal value, so that infants not yet reborn may be 

2 Cf. 1 Cor. 15,49. 


thought not to be under the Devil, for then God and the 
Devil seemingly would have equal shares, God claiming the 
laved for Himself; the Devil, the born. But, if to be laved 
had the same value as to be born, you would persuade men 
it is needless to be laved, because to be born, having the same 
value, is sufficient. We are thankful that you do not believe 
this. You do not permit the born to enter the kingdom 
of heaven unless they are laved; thus, you judge it much 
better to be laved than to be born. Take thought, then, and 
see to it you do not think it unworthy that those who are 
not admitted to the kingdom of God must be under the 
power of him who fell from the kingdom of God, and that 
those who do not have life must be under him who lost life. 
Infants do not have life unless they have Christ, and they 
unquestionably cannot have Christ unless they put Him 
on, as it is written: 'All you who have been baptized into 
Christ have put on Christ.' 3 The Evangelist John testifies 
that they do not have life unless they have Christ, when 
he says: 'He who has the Son has life; he who has not the 
Son has not life.' 4 They, then, who do not have life, for 
whom Christ died that they might have it, are rightly 
regarded as dead: 'One died for all, therefore all died.' 
He died, as we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews: 'That 
through death he might destroy him who had the empire 
of death, that is, the devil.' 5 It is any wonder, then, that 
infants, as long as they are dead and before they begin 
to have Him who died for the dead, are under him who 
has the empire of death? 

3 Gal. 3.27. 

4 1 John 5.12. 

5 Heb. 2.14. 


Chapter 10 

(28) You list propositions the Christian faith truly cannot 
doubt, including statements we also taught in this form, 
even to our admitting the truth of the words that 'There 
can be no sin of man without the act of free will.' For not 
even this original sin which is contracted would have existed 
without the act of free will by which the first man sinned, 
through whom sin entered into the world and passed to all 
men. 1 But there are distinctions governing correct under- 
standing of your statement: 'A man is not held liable for 
another's sins. 5 I shall not now note that David sinned and 
for his sin one thousand men fell in battle; 2 that one sinned 
against the interdict and the anathema of avenging justice 
fell upon those who had not sinned and had not known 
of the commission of the crime. 3 The nature of such sins 
or punishments is another question which ought not to detain 
us here. In a way, the sins of our parents are said to be 
another's sins, and, in a way, they are also our own. They 
are another's by right of ownership of the action; they are 
ours by means of contagion of offspring. If this were false, 
the heavy yoke upon children of Adam from the day of their 
coming out of their mother's womb would in no way be just. 4 

(29) You quote the Apostle's words: 'All of us must 
be made manifest before the tribunal of Christ, so that each 
one may receive what he has won through the body, according 
to his works, whether good or evil.' 5 How do you understand 
these words in reference to infants? Will they also appear 
before the tribunal of Christ or not? If they will not, how 

1 Cf. Rom. 5.12. 

2 Cf. 2 Kings 24. 

3 Cf. Josue 7. 

4 Cf. Eccli. 40.1. 

5 2 Cor. 5.10. 


does this passage help you when it does not apply to those 
whose case we are now considering? If they will appear, 
how will they who have done nothing receive what they 
have done, unless we must ascribe to them their believing 
or not believing through the hearts and mouths of those 
bearing them? He says: 'What he has won through the body,' 
which refers to one now living his own life. How can an 
infant receive good that he may enter into the kingdom 
of God, if each one receives for what he has done, unless 
what an infant has done, that is, believed through another, 
belongs to him? If, then, that he has believed, this is his, that 
he may receive the kingdom of God; so, too, if he has not 
believed, this is his, that he may receive the judgment of con- 
demnation. For the Gospel also says: 'He who does not believe 
shall be condemned. 56 The words of the Apostle, 'All of us 
must be made manifest, so that each one may receive 
according to his works, whether good or evil,' leave no middle 
course. You see, then, how inadequate is your position. You 
would not have an infant receive evil from another's sin, yet 
you would have him receive from another's good work, not 
just any good, but the kingdom of God. It is another's work 
when he believes through another, just as it was another's 
work when he sinned in another. Moreover, we do not doubt 
that every sin is cleansed by baptism; but man is cleansed 
by rebirth, and, therefore, what regeneration alone can 
destroy, generation does not cease to contract. 

(30) When you say: 'Concupiscence is not in constant 
rebellion against the soul,' you at least admit that it does 
indeed rebel; you do not admit it is a penalty that you wage 
this internal warfare? You say: 'God should be the Creator 
of only such infants as are worthy of His hands,' and you 
add: 'that is, of innocents.' Does not he who says that only 
works beautiful and sound are befitting the hands of God 

6 Mark 16.16. 


seem to surpass you in piety and praise of God? But many 
are born deformed, many diseased, many horrible and mon- 
strous, yet we hold that none but the good and true God 
could have created the whole substance, together with all 
its parts and whatever exists and lives by way of substance. 

(31 ) You demand I explain 'how the Devil dares to claim 
for himself infants created in Christ, that is, in His power.' 
You must answer, if you can, how the Devil openly, not obs- 
curely, claims infants harassed by unclean spirits. If you say 
they have been delivered up to him, we both see the torment; 
you must say what deserves it. We both perceive the punish- 
ment; but you who say that nothing deserving of punishment 
is contracted from parents, while we both confess God is just, 
must prove, if you can, that there is in infants guilt deserving 
such punishment. Do you not realize this is part of the heavy 
yoke upon the children of Adam from the day of their com- 
ing out of their mother's womb until the day of their burial in 
the mother of all? The human race is so consumed by various 
afflictions under this yoke that it would seem men's being made 
children of mercy from children of wrath as promised is pre- 
paration for the future world, but in this world even the 
children of mercy are harried from birth to death under this 
same yoke. Yes, even baptized infants are at times subjected 
to attacks by demons, in addition to other evils of this life, 
although they have been rescued from the power of darkness 
lest it draw them to everlasting punishment. 

(32) You repeat some statements I have already answered, 7 
yet I ought not to disregard them even now. 'When God 
gives the glory of regeneration to infants who have nothing 
of their own to deserve either good or evil,' you say, 'He 
teaches us they are under His providence, His justice, His 
dominion, and in the lavishness of His inestimable bounty 
He anticipates their will.' How have they offended God, 

7 Cf. above, pp. 112-114. 


those innumerable infants, equally innocent and pure, created 
by God Himself after His own image, from whom He with- 
holds this gift and does not anticipate their will by the lavish- 
ness of His inestimable bounty, segregating that multitude 
of His own images from His own kingdom? If it will not 
be an evil for them, it follows that this multitude of innocent 
images of God will not love the kingdom of God. But, if they 
will love it, and love it as much as innocents ought to love 
the kingdom of Him by whom they are created after His own 
image, will they suffer no evil from the very separation? 
Finally, no matter where they may be and no matter how 
subject to God, a judge not compelled by an immovable fate, 
no respecter of persons, they will not be in the happiness 
of that kingdom with those who are likewise without any- 
think of their own to deserve either good or evil. But, if they 
had deserved nothing evil, they would never be deprived 
of the enjoyment of so great a good, in the same situation. 
As we have often said, in the words of the Apostle, in the 
vessels of wrath God makes known the riches of His glory 
towards the vessels of mercy, in order that the latter may 
not glory in the merits of their life when they realize that 
He could most justly have rendered to them what they see 
has been rendered to those who were perfect peers in 
their death. 

(33) If you would be wise, apply also to infants what the 
Apostle tells us God the Father has done: 'Who has rescued 
us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the king- 
dom of his beloved Son'; and again: 'We were by nature 
children of wrath, even as the rest.' 8 For all are rescued from 
the power of darkness and were children of wrath when they 
die to sin. But they die to sin in order to live to God when 
they are baptized into the death of Christ. Indeed, all are 
baptized into His death when they are baptized into Christ. 

8 Col. 1.13; Eph. 2.3. 


Since infants are also baptized into Christ, they die to sin 
and are rescued from the power of darkness where they were 
by nature children of wrath. You say that the Apostle's words, 
'by nature children of wrath, 5 can be interpreted as 'entirely 
children of wrath.' Here note that the ancient Catholic faith 
is opposed to you, for there is scarcely a Latin codex if you 
have not tampered with them in which the words 'by nature' 
are not found. The ancient translators should surely have 
avoided it, unless this was the ancient faith which your 
innovation has just now begun to oppose. 

Chapter 11 

(34) Remarkable man that you are, you do not care 
to be numbered among the common people. You once more 
reject the judgment of the people, after so many arguments 
with which you were trying to arouse them more seriously 
against me than they had been aroused against you. You 
have seen, however, that your arguments had no effect 
on people rooted in the truth and antiquity of the Catholic 
faith; so you turned to rail against the people by describing 
and deriding special groups of that multitude of Christians 
deservedly hostile to you. Then, referring to scholastic audi- 
toriales, you say they will cry out against me: f O tempora, 

mores. 31 But you must be in awe of the judgment of the 
people, since you were able to find among them a witness 
so clamorous you thought it could frighten me with the words 
of Tully, stirring them up by saying I hold that the repro- 
ductive members of the body come from a source other than 
that of the whole body. Suppose I answer and say: This is 
a lie, for it is not what I think. I blame lust, not the members; 

1 am concerned with a fault, not a nature. The man who 

1 Cicero; Oral. 1 in Catil, and act 6 in Verrem. 


slanders me to you dares to sing the praise of lust in the 
Church of Christ, before the Master who is in heaven. If you 
were fellow students, no master would assign him such matter 
to declaim, lest he offend everyone's modesty. Would they 
not rather use against you those other, really appropriate 
words of Cicero: 'Modesty fights on this side; impudence 
comes from you. Here is continence; there, lust.' 2 

(35) Those men you say have deserted your teaching, con- 
verted or returned to the Catholic faith, and whom you say 
you can expose as guilty of misconduct are not known to me. 
You seem to be in such dread of them that you dare not give 
their names, lest, perhaps, when they hear your false charges 
against them they may accuse you of more credible, if not 
truer, offenses. Whoever they may be, if they are truly wise 
they will do nothing against you, but spare you, instead, 
in accordance with the words of the Apostle, 'Not rendering 
abuse for abuse.' 3 At least you will not refuse to listen to the 
admonition of him in whose words you were pleased to 
exclaim : 'O tempora^ O mores !' Hear him, at least, 'So that 
you may put yourself as far from licence with words as you 
are remote from depravity' if, indeed, you are remote from 
it and not say of others what you blush to hear said falsely 
of yourself. I must inform the readers that in persons I know 
who with the vow of celibacy have renounced the Pelagian 
heresy, I know no such things as you have charged against 
I know not whom. But I am not concerned with the kind 
of men and women you so deceive as to say that I hold : 'Lust 
cannot be restrained even in a body decrepit with age.' 
Because I know it can be restrained and must be restrained 
I know it is evil. Let him who denies it is evil look to how 
he may possess that good which is attacked by the lust that 
he admits, whether he will or not, must be restrained. 

2 Cicero, Orat. 2 in Catil. 

3 1 Peter 3.9. 


I declare that lust can be restrained, not only by the senile, 
but also by the young; but I marvel much that lust can 
be praised by celibates. 

(36) Who of us has ever said: 'The evil which infants 
contract can exist, or at some time has existed without the 
substance in which it inheres'? As though we held this, you 
appeal to dialecticians as judges, and you scoff at the people 
as though I were citing you before them to judge about 
matters in which they have no competence. Truly, if you 
had not learned these things the Pelagian system would have 
lacked the architect it needed. If you would live, do not love 
the wisdom of words by which the cross of Christ is made 
void. 4 We have already discussed 5 how good and evil qualities 
may pass from one substance to another, not by migrating, 
but by affecting the substance. If you scorn the judgment 
of the people, then consider the judges I mentioned in the 
first two books, judges of outstanding authority in the Church 
of Christ. 

Chapter 12 

(37) Why do you accuse Zosimus, of blessed memory, 
bishop of the Apostolic See, of prevarication, to protect your 
own baseness? 1 He was in accord with his predecessor, Inno- 
cent, whom you feared to mention. You preferred Zosimus 
because he dealt more leniently with Celestius at first, when 
Celestius promised to correct any of his statements that were 
unacceptable, and agreed to abide by the judgment of Inno- 
cent's letters. 

(38) Recall how insolently you sought to damage us in 

4 Cf. 1 Cor. 1.17. 

5 Cf. above, pp. 291-293. 

1 Cf. Introduction, pp. xi-xii. 


regard to the dissent of the Roman people in the election 
of the Pope. 2 Would you say men act this way by their own 
will? If you deny they do, how will you defend free choice? 
But if you admit they do, how can you call it 'the vengeance 
of God/ and abandon your own teaching while pretending 
you have been divinely vindicated? Or will you sometime 
concede what you have been stubbornly and contentiously 
denying: that by a hidden judgment of God there may 
be something in the very volitions of men which is both sin 
and punishment for sin? If you had not been thinking this, 
you would never have said an act of men may be the 
vengeance of God. But when something similar happened 
in the case of blessed Damasus and Ursicinus, the Roman 
Church had not yet condemned the Pelagians. 

(39) You say that I also have changed my opinions, and 
that at the beginning of my conversion I agreed with you, 
You deceive or are deceived in misrepresenting what I say 
now, or in not understanding, or, worse, not reading what 
I said then. I have always held from the beginning of my 
conversion, and I now hold, that through one man sin entered 
into the world and through sin death, and thus death has 
passed to all men; in whom all have sinned. 3 There are books 
extant which I wrote as a layman at the very beginning 
of my conversion. I was not then as learned in sacred 
Scripture as later on, yet I held and also said, when there 
was need to speak, nothing on this matter except what the 
whole Church has from the earliest times learned and taught; 
namely, that the human race, as a consequence of original sin, 
has deservedly fallen into these great and manifest miseries 
in which man is like to vanity: his days pass away like 
a shadow; all things are vanity and every man living. 4 

2 A schism arose at the death of Zosimus (418) , when certain men 
contended for Eulalius against the legitimately elected Boniface. 

3 Cf. Rom. 5.12. 

4 Cf. Ps. 143.4; 38.6. 


He alone can give deliverance who said: The truth shall 
make you free' and 'I am the truth' and 'If the Son makes 
you free you will be free indeed.' 5 Truth alone frees from 
vanity, but this is according to grace, not according to debt; 
through mercy, not merit. As we were made subject to vanity 
through judgment, so it is through mercy that we are made 
free by truth, and we confess that our good merits themselves 
are but the gifts of God. 

Chapter 13 

(40) Let us now discuss your slanderous accusation against 
me: 'The baptized are cleansed only in part.' You say this 
appears much more clearly in my sermons. You then proceed 
to quote from some of the sermons in which you say this 
appears. I thank you; my words are: 1 The concupiscence 
of the flesh should not be imputed to marriage, but tolerated. 
It is not a good coming from the natural marriage union, 
but an evil added accidentally from the ancient sin. For this 
reason, even of just and legitimate marriage between children 
of God, not children of God, but children of this world are 
generated. Although those who generate have been regen- 
erated, they do not generate from that by which they are 
children of God, but from that by which they are children 
of this world. Our Lord's words are: "The children of this 
world generate and are generated." 2 From that by which 
we are still children of this world our outer man is being cor- 

5 John 8.32; 14.6; 8.36. 

1 De nuptiis 1.19,20. 

2 Luke 20.34. The text quoted by Augustine reads: 'Filii hujus saeculi 
generant et generantur.' He uses this text and this form of it as 
the minor premiss of a similar argument in De peccatorum mentis 
et remissione 1.20.27. 


rupted; and from this same thing children of this world are 
generated. From that by which we are children of God our 
inner man is being renewed day by day. 3 Although the outer 
man also is sanctified through the laver and receives the hope 
of future incorruption, and is therefore rightly said to be the 
temple of God 4 this is said, not only because of our present 
sanctification, but also because of that hope of which we read : 
"But we ourselves also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit 
we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adop- 
tion as sons, the redemption of our body." If the redemption 
of our body is awaited, as the Apostle says, surely that 
which is awaited is still hoped for and is not yet pos- 
sessed.' My words contain nothing a baptized person does 
not find in himself, when he says with the Apostle: 'We 
ourselves groan within ourselves.' And elsewhere: 'For we 
who are in this tent sigh under our burden.' 6 The rel- 
evant words in the Book of Wisdom are: "The corrupt- 
ible body is a load upon the soul and the earthly habit- 
ation presseth down the mind that museth upon many 
things.' 7 You, as though already dwelling among the angels 
in heaven, ridicule the words of weakness and mortality. You 
explain them, not according to my sense, but according to 
your deceit, and state untruly that I said: 'Grace does not 
perfectly renew man.' Note what I actually said: 'Grace 
perfectly renews man, since it brings him even to immorta- 
lity of body and full happiness.' It perfectly renews man 
now, also, as regards deliverance from all sins, but not 
as regards deliverance from all evils, nor from every ill 
of mortality by which the body is now a load upon the soul, 

3 Cf. 2 Cor. 4.16. 

4 Cf. 1 Cor. 3.16. 

5 Rom. 8.23. 

6 2 Cor. 5.4. 

7 Wisd. 9.15. 


This is the groaning which the Apostle acknowledges also 
as his own when he says: 'We ourselves groan within our- 
selves.' But it is by the same baptism here received that a 
man reaches the perfection hoped for. Not all the children 
of this world are children of the Devil, although all children 
of the Devil are children of this world. For there are children 
of God who are still children of this world, for which reason 
they also join in marriage. But by the flesh they do not 
beget children of God, for, in order that they themselves might 
be children of God, they were born not of blood, not of 
the will of man, and not of the will of the flesh, but of God. 8 
Even now through baptism sanctification is conferred on the 
body also, yet the corruption of the body, which also is a load 
upon the soul, is not now taken away. Though the bodies are 
chaste when the members do not serve the desires of sin and 
have therefore begun to belong to the temple of God, there is 
something in this whole structure that grace may make perfect 
as long as the flesh lusts against the spirit to stir up evil move- 
ments that must be restrained, and the spirit lusts against 
the flesh, that holiness may abide. 9 

Chapter 14 

(41 ) Who does not know what you, an outstanding teacher, 
affirm: The flesh is said to lust because the soul lusts car- 
nally.' There can be no concupiscence of the flesh apart from 
the soul. Concupiscence is so proper to a living and sentient 
nature that it does not cease even when restrained by the 
chastity of a eunuch; less troublesome for him, for where 

8 Cf. John 1.13. 

9 Cf. Gal. 5.17. 


there is less fuel there is less desire. It exists, nonetheless, 
and must be curbed by modesty, lest the eunuch, though 
incapable of intercourse, attempt that wickedness for which 
we are told Calligonus, the eunuch of the younger Valenti- 
nian, convicted on the charge of a harlot, was put to death. 
The words of Ecclesiasticus, 'He seeth with his eyes and 
groaneth, as an eunuch embracing a virgin, and sighing,' 1 
would not apply unless eunuchs were also moved by the 
affections of carnal concupiscence, although without the 
carnal effects. Thus, in movements according to the spirit 
the soul sometimes opposes other movements of itself ac- 
cording to the flesh. Conversely, in movements according 
to the flesh, it opposes others which it has according to the 
spirit, and this is why we say the flesh lusts against the 
spirit and the spirit lusts against the flesh. But this is also 
why 'it is being renewed day by day,' 2 for the soul does 
not fail to make progress in virtue as it gradually diminishes 
the carnal desires to which it does not consent. It is to those 
already baptized that the Apostle says: 'Mortify your mem- 
bers, which are on the earth.' In this same passage he also 
mentions fornication, evil concupiscence, and covetousness. 3 
Then, how does a man already baptized mortify the forni- 
cation which he no longer commits, and, according to you, 
has nothing to mortify? How, I ask, can he obey the Apostle's 
words and 'mortify fornication,' unless he wars to expel the 
desires to which he does not consent; for, even though these 
desires do not cease to exist, the desire diminishes daily in 
those making progress and not committing fornication in 
consent or in deed? This is realized in the temple of God 
when, with God's help, we carry out God's commands. The 

1 Ecdi, 30.21. 

2 2 Cor. 4.16. 

3 Cf. Col. 5.5. 


works of the spirit are built up; the works of the flesh are 
mortified : Tor if you live according to the flesh you will die, 
but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the flesh 
you will live.' That they may know they can do this only 
through the grace of God, he says: 'For whoever are led 
by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.' 4 Therefore, 
whoever are led by the Spirit of God mortify by the spirit 
the deeds of the flesh. 

(42) The baptized have, then, something to do in them- 
selves, that is, in the temple of God which is first being 
built, and then will be dedicated at the end. It is built after 
the captivity, as the title of the psalm indicates: when the 
enemy who had taken them captive has been expelled. There 
is something noteworthy in the order of the psalms. The 
psalm of the dedication of the house precedes in order of 
numbering the psalm of the building of the house. The psalm 
of the dedication comes first, because he is singing of the 
house of which its Architect says: 'Destroy this temple and 
in three days I will raise it up.' 6 The later psalm, when the 
house was being built after the captivity, foretold the Church. 
Moreover, its opening words are: 'Sing to the Lord a new 
song, sing to the Lord all the earth.' 6 Let no one foolishly 
think that a baptized man is already perfect, therefore, 
merely because it has been said: Tor holy is the temple of 
God, and this temple you are,' and: 'Do you not know 
that your members are the temple of the Holy Spirit, who 
is in you, whom you have from God?' 7 In another passage 
he says: Tor you are the temple of the living God,' 8 and 
similar expressions. It is even now called a temple, and 

4 Rom. 8.13,14. 

5 John 2.19. 

6 Ps. 95.1,2. 

7 1 Cor. 3.17,16. 

8 2 Cor. 6.16. 


while is is being built our members here on earth are morti- 
fied. Though we, even now dead to sin, live to God, there 
is still something in us to mortify in order that sin reign 
not in our mortal body so that we obey its lusts. 9 The full 
and perfect remission of sins has freed us from subjection 
to them, yet they must be combated even by the chaste. 
One of these is also the concupiscence which is used well 
by modest spouses, but when it is used well, good is born 
of evil not without evil, and thus must be reborn to be 
delivered from evil. What God creates and man generates 
is indeed good, as far as it is man. But it is not without 
evil, for regeneration alone delivers a man from the evil 
which generation contracts from the first and great sin. 

(43) You would have it seem incredible that 'In the womb 
of a baptized woman, whose body is the temple of God, 
there be formed a man who must be under the power of the 
Devil unless he be reborn from God to God,' as though it 
were not more remarkable that God should operate even 
where He does not dwell. He does not dwell in a body sub- 
ject to sins, yet He forms a man in the womb of a harlot. 
He reaches everywhere because of His purity and nothing 
defiled comes into Him. 10 It is much more remarkable that 
He sometimes adopts for a son one whom He forms in the 
womb of an impure woman; and sometimes does not accept 
for a son him whom He forms in the womb of his own 
daughter. The one is baptized, by what providence I know 
not; the other dies suddenly and is not baptized. God, in 
whose power are all things, receives one whom He has 
formed in the dwelling of the Devil into fellowship with 
Christ, and He does not wish that one He formed in His 
own temple should be in His kingdom. Or, if He wishes it, 

9 Cf. Rom. 6.11,12. 
10 Cf. Wisd. 1.4; 7.24,25. 


why does He not do what He wishes? What you are ac- 
customed to say about adults does not apply here, that is, 
that God wishes and the infant does not wish. Here, where 
there is no immovable fate, no careless chance, no personal 
dignity, what remains except the depths of mercy and of 
truth? From consideration of these two men, the one through 
whom sin entered into the world, and the other who takes 
away the sin of the world, let us try, in an incomprehensible 
matter, to comprehend that all children of this concupiscence 
of the flesh, no matter whence they are born, deservedly 
come under the heavy yoke of the children of Adam, and all 
the children of spiritual grace, no matter whence they are 
born, without their own merit arrive at the sweet yoke of 
the children of God. Hence, he has his own condition, 
whoever is so formed in the body of another, which is the 
temple of God, that he himself is not the temple of God 
simply because formed in the temple of God. That the body 
of his mother is the temple of God is the gift of grace, not 
of nature, and this grace is not conferred by conception but 
by regeneration. For, if what is conceived in the mother 
belonged to her body in such a way as to be regarded part 
of it, an infant still in the womb would not again be bap- 
tized after birth if the mother had been baptized in urgent 
danger of death. But, as it is, when the infant also is baptized, 
he is not held to have been baptized twice. He did not 
belong to his mother's body when he was in her womb; one 
not the temple of God was created in the temple of God. 
Thus, an unbeliver is created in a believing woman, and the 
parents transmitted to him the unbelief which they did not 
have when he was born from them, but which they them- 
selves had when they were likewise born. They traasmitted 
something no longer in them because of the spiritual seed 
by which they were regenerated, but it was in the carnal 
seed by which they generated him. 


(44) Although man's body is also sanctified in sacred 
baptism, it is sanctified so that through the remission of sins 
he is not bound by any guilt for past sins, nor for the con- 
cupiscence of the flesh which exists in him. Every man 
at birth is necessarily answerable by the guilt of this con- 
cupiscence, and will be until death, if he is not reborn. 
Where have you heard or read that I say: 'Men are not 
renewed through baptism, but only as though renewed; 
not freed, but as though freed; not saved, but as though 
saved'? God forbid I call vain the grace of that laver in 
which I was reborn of water and the Spirit; the grace 
through which I was delivered from the guilt of all sins, 
whether derived at birth or contracted by wicked living; 
the grace through which I know how to avoid temptation 
when drawn away and enticed by my own concupiscence, 
and I am heard when I say with the faithful: 'Forgive us 
our trespasses'; 11 the grace I hope will make me free in 
eternity where there will be no law in my members warring 
against the law of my mind. 12 I do not make void the grace 
of God. You, its enemy, seem to be seeking an empty boast 
by introducing Epicurus, 'who said that the body and blood 
of the gods was not body and blood, but only as though 
body and blood. 513 In this instance you are as inept as you 
seem erudite, for this matter from the writings of the phi- 
losophers is irrelevant to our question. Who has said : 'Every- 
thing that happens in the present age is culpable' when 
Christ Himself did so many good things on earth but in 
order to deliver us from this present evil age? 

11 Matt. 6.12. 

12 Cf. Rom. 7.23. 

IS Cicero, De natura deoruni 3. 


Chapter 15 

(45) I observe how carefully and fittingly you quote the 
testimony of the Apostle: 'We are saved by hope/ and the 
rest, to 'the redemption of our body.' 1 You say: The resur- 
rection will not take away any sins, but will only make return 
for the deserts of individuals. 5 You continue: c God will re- 
ward each one according to his own works,' yet you do 
not say for what works of their own He will give His king- 
dom to infants. Indeed, no sins are remitted in the king- 
dom, but, if none were remitted in that last judgment, 
I think our Lord would not have said about a certain 
sin: 'It will not be forgiven him, either in this world 
or in the world to come'; 2 and the thief who said: 'Re- 
member me when thou comest into kingdom,' 3 surely hoped 
his sins would be forgiven. We shall not now give a hasty 
judgment on this question, since it is very profound. But 
we may ask why God forgives no sins for His children in the 
kingdom unless it be because He finds nothing to forgive? 
There could not be sins where the spirit, let alone not con- 
senting with the concupiscence of the flesh, does not even 
lust against the flesh, because the flesh also does not lust 
against the spirit. The flesh will be perfect in that ineffable 
health which even baptism, remitting all sins as it does, does 
not effect at the present time; for the evils of carnal lusts 
remain after baptism, when there is progress in glorious 
combats with these evils by the married, and in still more 
glorious combats by the continent, as you yourself admit. 4 
I do not know what misfortune keeps you from hearing 
yourself when you speak for the truth. 

1 Rom. 8.24,23. 

2 Matt. 12.32. 

3 Luke 23.42. 

4 Cf. above, pp. 143-144. 


(46) In describing the supreme happiness of the resur- 
rection, you say : 'None of the just will longer bruise his body 
and subject it to servitude; none will longer humble his 
soul on hard pallets in the squalor of his members.' Why, 
then, does he who in baptism lost every evil do such things? 
Why does he dare bruise the temple of God? Then why does 
he invite God's presence, or beg His mercy, or placate His 
wrath, not by a sweet odor, but by the squalor of His temple? 
Does he chastise, tame, conquer, suppress no evil in the temple 
of God, not even in the bruising and squalor of the temple 
of God? Do you not understand, do you not perceive that 
when he is so vehemently persecuting his own body, if he 
is not persecuting something displeasing to God, he is to no 
purpose doing grave injury to God by persecuting God's 
temple? Why do you vacillate, why do you hesitate to 
admit this openly? That which the man whose bruises and 
squalor you mention persecutes in his flesh is that of which 
the Apostle says: 'I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, 
no good dwells.' 5 Why do you deny that this is the voice 
of a baptized man, when you recognize in the bruises of 
the body and the squalor of the members the deeds of this 
voice? These are not things the saints bear in patience under 
scourges from God or from enemies; they in their continence 
inflict these things on themselves. Does this not come from 
the spirit lusting against the concupiscence of the flesh, 
something of which you are aware? When you were discus- 
sing the happiness of the future life, you said: 'No one will 
face reproaches undismayed, no one will offer his cheek to 
blows, nor his back to lashes. None will strive to make 
strength from weakness, or to unite frugality with poverty, 
or magnanimity with mourning.' Why were you unwilling 
to say: 'or chastity with concupiscence of the flesh,' but 

5 Rom. 7.18. 


hastened to conclude with: 'nor will patience mourn with 
grief? You mention only what comes from outside and must 
be borne with courage, not that which disturbs us from 
within and must be overcome with chastity. Do you perhaps 
regard us as sluggish because we do not understand some- 
thing you already mentioned when you spoke of the bruises 
of the body and the effort and squalor of the members? 
When this affliction comes not from an enemy, but the 
courageous afflicts himself, then there is within him an 
enemy that must be overcome. 

(47) You must recall that you did not explain why the 
Apostle, already adopted in the laver of regeneration, was 
'waiting for the adoption'? 6 You say again: 'No one hates 
his own flesh. 5 Who denies this? Yet you assert the flesh 
must be brought to subjection by rigorous discipline. Again 
you speak the truth, but are deaf to your own teaching. 
Why do the faithful mortify the flesh, if in baptism nothing 
remains to lust against the spirit? Why, I ask, does the 
temple of God mortify itself, if there is nothing in it to 
resist the Spirit of God? On the other hand, such a thing 
would not only exist there, but would inhere in a seriously 
harmful way, if the guilt by which it bound him had 
not been dissolved through the remission of sins. It is dis- 
solved through indulgence, then, because it bound harm- 
fully. It is mortified through continence lest it conquer 
in the conflict. It must be kept from doing harm until it 
has been so healed that it does not exist at all. For this 
reason, all sins, both those contracted by the way of origin 
and those added later, in ignorance or knowingly, are re- 
mitted in baptism. The Apostle James says: 'Everyone is 
tempted by his being drawn away and enticed by his own 
concupiscence. Then when concupiscence has conceived, it 

6 Rom. 8.23. 

7 James 1.14. 


brings forth sin.' 7 These words distinguish the thing brought 
forth from the one giving birth. The one giving birth is 
concupiscence; the thing brought forth is sin. But concupi- 
scence does not give birth unless it conceives; it does not con- 
ceive unless it entices, that is, unless it obtains willing consent 
to commit evil. Therefore, man's battle against concupiscence 
consists in keeping it from conceiving and giving birth to sin. 
If concupiscence also is consumed when all sins, that is, all 
the brood of concupiscence, have been remitted in baptism, 
how, in your words, will the saints fight to keep it from 
conceiving, 'in bruises of the body and the squalor of the 
members, the mortification of the flesh'? How, I say, will 
the saints wage war against concupiscence with bruises, 
squalor, and mortification of the temple of God, if con- 
cupiscence itself is taken away by baptism? Concupiscence, 
then, remains; nor do we lose it in the laver of regeneration, 
if we did not lose there the sense by which we perceive that 
it remains. 

(48) How can any man be so impudent and imprudent, 
so obstinate, obdurate, and obstructive, finally so foolish and 
beside himself as to confess that sins are evil and yet deny 
that the lust for sins is evil, even when the spirit lusting against 
it does not permit it to conceive and give birth to sins? Must 
not an evil of this kind and so great bind man in death and 
carry him to final death merely because it is in him, unless 
its bond be loosed in that remission of all sins which is accom- 
plished in baptism? Hence, the chains stretching from the 
first Adam can only be broken in the second Adam. By these 
chains of death, I say, infants are dead, not in the familiar 
death which separates the soul from the body, but in the death 
binding all for whom Christ died. As the Apostle says, and 
as we have often repeated: 'Since one died for all, therefore 
all died, and he died for all in order that they who are alive 
may live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for 


them and rose again.' 8 The living are those for whom He who 
was living died in order that they might live; more plainly, 
they are freed from the chains of death, they for whom the 
one free among the dead died. 9 Or, still more plainly: they 
have been freed from sin, for whom He who was never in sin 
died. Although He died once, He dies for each at that time 
when each, whatever his age, is baptized in His death; that 
is, the death of Him who was without sin benefits each man 
at the time when, having been baptized in His death, he who 
was dead in sin shall also die to sin. 

Chapter 16 

(49) You insist on the testimony of the Apostle from 'Do 
not err, neither fornicators nor idolaters,' and the rest, to the 
conclusion, 'they will not possess the kingdom of God.' But 
the doers of these deeds are those who consent with the actions 
of that concupiscence you praise, to commit all manner of evil 
and depravity. When he says: 'And such were some of you, 
but you have been washed, but you have been sanctified,' 1 
he also says they have been changed for the better; not so as 
to lose concupiscence, a condition never realized in this life, 
but so that they do not obey it, a condition that can be found 
in a good life. Thus they may know they have been delivered 
from its bondage, and this can only be effected through 
regeneration. You are much mistaken in thinking: 'If concu- 
piscence were an evil, he who is baptized would lose it.' Such 
a man loses every sin, but not every evil. More plainly, he loses 
all guilt for all evils, but not all evils. Does he lose bodily cor- 

8 2 Cor. 5.14,15. 

9 Cf. Ps. 87.6. 

1 1 Cor. 6.9,10. 


ruption? Is this not an evil weighing down the soul, so that 
he erred who said : 'The corruptible body is a load upon the 
soul'? 2 Does he lose the evil of ignorance through which men 
unwittingly commit innumerable evil deeds? Is it a slight evil 
not to perceive the things that are of the Spirit of God? The 
Apostle says about baptized persons: 3 'The sensual man does 
not perceive the things that are of the Spirit of God, for 
it is foolishness to him and he cannot understand, because 
it is examined spiritually.' Later on, he says: 'And I, brethren, 
could not speak to you as to spiritual men but only as carnal, 
as to little ones in Christ. I fed you with milk, not with solid 
food, for you were not yet ready for it. Nor are you now ready 
for it, for you are still carnal. For since there are jealousy and 
strife among you, arc you not carnal, and walking as mere 
men?' See what evils he names as coming from the evil of 
ignorance ; and I think he is not talking to catechumens. How 
would his hearers be infants in Christ unless they had already 
been reborn? If you still do not believe, note what he says 
to them a little later: 'Do you not know that you are the 
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?' 
Do you still doubt or deny that none but the baptized in whom 
the Spirit of God dwelt could have been the temple of God? 
At least consider what he said to them: 'Were you baptized 
in the name of Paul?' Therefore, they did not lose this great 
evil of ignorance in the laver of regeneration, where they 
unquestionably lost all sins. And through this evil of ignorance 
the things of the Spirit of God were foolishness to the temple 
of God, in which dwelt the Spirit of God. If they made prog- 
ress from day to day, however, and continued to walk in the 
way at which they had arrived, then with the aid of sound 
doctrine the evil would be diminished. Are we, then, to believe 
that in this life it can be not merely diminished, but even 

2 Wisd. 9.15. 

3 1 Cor. 2.14,15; 3.1,2,16; 1.13. 


eliminated ; yet after baptism or should we say in baptism 
Does anyone doubt that concupiscence can be diminished 
in this life, but not entirely eliminated? 

(50) All past guilt of these evils, then, is washed away 
in the sacred font. They are remitted in the reborn; 
diminished in those making progress. Ignorance is diminished 
in ever-increasing brilliance of truth. Concupiscence is dimin- 
ished in ever-increasing ardor of charity. None of the goodness 
of these two comes from us, for 'We have received not the 
spirit of the world, but the spirit that is from God, that we may 
know the things that have been given us by God.' 4 Concu- 
piscence is worse than ignorance, because to sin in ignorance 
without concupiscence is lesser sin ; but concupiscence without 
ignorance makes sin more serious. Moreover, ignorance of evil 
is not always evil, but lust after evil is always evil. It is some- 
times useful to be ignorant of a good, in order to learn 
of it at an opportune time ; it is never possible that man's good 
be lusted after by carnal concupiscence, since not even off- 
spring itself is desired by the lust of the body, but by the 
intention of the soul, even though offspring is not sowed 
without the lust of the body. For, indeed, we are concerned 
with that concupiscence by which the flesh lusts against the 
spirit; not with the good concupiscence by which the spirit 
lusts against the flesh, 5 and by which is desired the continence 
through which concupiscence is overcome. By this concu- 
piscence of the flesh no one ever desires any good of man, 
unless the pleasure of the flesh is the good of man. If the sect 
of Dinomachus, 6 which joins moral soundness with sensual 
pleasure, pleases you, as you indicate somewhere, that good 
which the admittedly sounder philosophers of this world also 
called 'Scylla-like,' that is, a compound of human and animal 

4 1 Cor. 2.12. 

5 Cf. Gal. 5.17. 

6 Cf. above, p. 233. 


nature; if your opinion favors this monster, we shall be 
satisfied with your admission that one pleasure is lawful, 
another unlawful. The concupiscence which seeks both of them 
indiscriminately is evil, unless it be restrained from unlawful 
pleasure by lawful pleasure. This evil is not laid aside in bap- 
tism, but the baptized, already freed from its obligation, 
through the grace of regeneration, overcome it wholesomely 
to keep it from drawing them to the unlawful. That it exist 
not at all at the time of the resurrection in a body which 
lives and does not sorrow is the reward of those who have 
fought against it faithfully, and, the sickness healed, are 
to be clothed in blessed immortality. It will not exist in those 
who do not rise to life; not for their happiness, but penally 
non-existent, and this not because each will be cleansed 
of it, but because at that time its activity, being turned about, 
no longer moving towards pleasures, will only face torments. 

Chapter 17 

(51 ) Let us examine your very excellent acumen in refuta- 
tion of my statement: c The concupiscence of the flesh is put 
away in baptism, not so as not to exist, but so as not to be 
imputed for sin. But even though its guilt has been removed, 
concupiscence remains.' 1 Most astute of men, you argue 
against my words as though I said baptism delivers concu- 
piscence itself from guilt, because I said : 'When its guilt has 
been removed,' as though 'its' meant a guilt by which concu- 
piscence is guilty, and I said when such guilt has been 
removed, concupiscence would be absolved. 2 If that had been 

1 De nuptiis 1.28. 

2 This chapter shows more clearly the nature of the genuine difficulty 
stated by Julian, to which Augustine refers in passing in Book 2; 
cf. p. 66. 


my thought, I surely would not have said it is evil, but that 
it had been evil. Thus, according to your remarkable intel- 
ligence, when you hear that the guilt of murder in someone 
has been removed, you must hold that not the man but 
murder itself has been absolved of guilt. Who can understand 
it in this way except one who does not blush to praise what 
he is forced to combat? Moreover, how can you boast and 
exult in refuting a statement which is plainly yours, not mine? 
You point out what should be affirmed against those who 
say that through baptism concupiscence of the flesh is sancti- 
fied and made believing in those in whom it nevertheless 
remains after their regeneration. It is more appropriate, 
however, for you who proclaim that concupiscence is good 
to say of it what you say of infants : 'The good of sanctifica- 
tion is added to its natural goodness, and the concupiscence 
of the flesh is a holy daughter of God.' But we declare 
it is evil; nonetheless, it remains in the baptized, even though 
its guilt not a guilt by which it itself is guilty, since it is not 
a person, but the guilt by which it made man guilty by way 
of origin has been remitted and made void. God forbid 
we assert the sanctification of that with which those who 
have been regenerated and have not received the grace 
of God in vain must battle as with an enemy in civil war 
and from which plague they must desire and hope to 
be healed. 

(52) If your reason for saying that no evils remain in those 
who have been baptized is to avoid the conclusion you 
draw that evils are baptized and sanctified consider the 
absurd consequences. If we must hold that whatever is in 
a man when he is baptized is also baptized and sanctified, 
then you must say that the waste which is being evacuated 
through digestion in the intestines and bladder is baptized 
and sanctified. You must say that a man is baptized and 


sanctified when in his mother's womb, if necessity compels 
that a pregnant woman receive this sacrament; and thus the 
one born would no longer need to be baptized. Finally, you 
must say that even fevers are baptized and sanctified when 
the sick are baptized, so that works of the Devil are also 
baptized and sanctified; as, for instance, if the woman whom 
Satan had bound in sickness for eighteen years 3 had been 
baptized before she was cured. What shall I say about the 
evils of the soul itself? Consider how great an evil it is to 
regard the things of the Spirit of God as foolishness; yet, such 
were the men the Apostle fed with milk, not with solid food. 
Are you going to say the great evil in that foolishness was 
baptized and sanctified because it was not taken away 
by baptism? So also, then, concupiscence which remains 
as something to be combated and healed, even though ab- 
solutely all sins are remitted in baptism, is not only not sancti- 
fied, but must rather be made void lest it hold the sanctified 
liable to eternal death. If those men who were fed with milk 
and not with solid food, being as yet sensual, not perceiving 
the things of the Spirit of God because they persisted in their 
foolishness, had died at that age of the mind, not of the 
flesh, when as new men they were called little ones in Christ, 
they would not have been bound by any guilt for this foolish- 
ness. For, of all the evils which they had to put off, after 
regeneration, by death or spiritual progress, as well as before, 
the gift conferred by regeneration removed forthwith the guilt 
of these evils by the remission of sins, but not as yet the cure 
of all diseases. But this guilt must bind those generated 
according to the flesh, for it is remitted only for him who 
is regenerated according to the spirit. Through the one 
Mediator of God and men the human race is delivered from 
the death to which it was most justly condemned; not 

3 Cf. Luke 13.11. 


only the death of the body, but also the death by which 
those were dead for whom One died. And because He died 
for all, therefore all died. 

Chapter 18 

(53) Do you not see the irrelevance of your joyful account 
of the differentia of qualities because I mentioned quality 
when I said: 'Concupiscence does not remain in the manner 
of a substance, a kind of body or spirit; it is an affection, 
an evil quality, like sickness/ 1 First you say I have changed 
my mind and forgotten the whole book in which I asserted 
that lust is a substance. If you will honestly and carefully 
analyze my book, you will find that I do not even once say 
lust is a substance. Some philosophers have, indeed, asserted 
it is a faulty part of the soul and, surely, a part of the 
soul is a substance since the soul itself is a substance but 
I say lust is the fault itself by which the soul or any part 
of the soul is faulty in this special way, and, consequently, 
when every fault is cured, the entire substance is sound. 
I think those philosophers themselves were using a figure 
of speech when they gave the name lust to a faulty part 
of the soul in which the fault called lust exists, just as the 
word house is used for a household. 

(54) By incautious use of your oversharp dialectical 
weapons and your boastfully trying to frighten us you have 
dealt your own group a mortal blow. In dividing and defining 
and also describing the differentia of qualities you say, 
among other things: The third kind of quality includes 
affection and affectional quality.' You continue: 'Affection 
is put in the category of quality because it is a principle 

1 De nuptiis 1.28. 


of qualities. The momentary and transient passions and reac- 
tions of soul or body are also placed here. On the other 
hand,' you say, 'affectional quality, arising from more power- 
ful causes, so inheres in the things in which it is found that 
it can be separated only by powerful counterforces or not 
at all.' Your explanation is adequate for those who are com- 
petent, but, since those of our readers who are not familiar 
with this matter should not be neglected, I shall by illustra- 
tion supply what I think is missing. As to the soul, then, 
a fright is an affection; timidity is an affectional quality. 
A fit of anger is not the same as surliness; intoxication is not 
the same as chronic alcoholism. The latter are affectional 
qualities; the former are affections. As for the body, we have 
pale and pallid, blushing and ruddy, and others for which 
we have no familiar names. Since you say: 'Affectional 
quality, arising from more powerful causes, so inheres that 
it can be separated from things only by powerful counter- 
forces or not at all,' then, when a man is said to be evil 
according to affectional quality, are you not afraid a good 
will can never exist there, or cannot have any effect? Do you 
not admit that that unfortunate man, whoever he is, or was, 
or will be, was certainly crying out against such a quality 
in the words : 'To wish is present with me, but I do not find 
the strength to accomplish what is good'? Here, at least, you 
will confess the necessity of the groaning in the words: 
'Who will deliver me from the body of this death? The grace 
of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.' 2 

(55) No matter how great your dialectical manipulation 
in dealing with the inexperienced, you will be fully exposed 
by the manifest truth. I say that the fault by which the flesh 
lusts against the spirit is inborn in man, from his vitiated 
origin, as a kind of bad health. I say that conjugal modesty 

2 Rom. 7.18,24,25. 


uses this evil well when it uses it for the purpose of genera- 
tion; however, in this good use of evil we do not praise the 
evil itself, but him who uses it. The evil is not innocent, 
but the user: when he brings it about that his own evil 
which he uses well does not harm him, just as death is the 
sinner's torment, but by good use of evil may become the 
martyr's merit. Thus, Christian baptism gives us perfect new- 
ness and perfect health from those evils by which we were 
guilty, not from the evils we must still combat lest we become 
guilty. These, too, are in us and they are not another's, but 
our own. After baptism we see men resist the habit of 
drunkenness, surely a bad habit which they brought upon 
themselves and did not contract in birth. They resist it lest 
it draw them to their ways of evil habit, yet they resist evil 
when through continence they deny to concupiscence what 
is desired through habit. In like manner, against the concu- 
piscence of the reproductive members which is born in us 
through original sin, a widow combats more vigorously than 
a virgin, and a harlot who wants to be chaste combats more 
vigorously than a woman always chaste. The greater the 
power given concupiscence by habit, the greater the effort 
of the will striving to overcome it. From and with this evil 
of man, man is born; and this evil is of its own self so great 
and has so powerful an obligation to the condemnation 
of man and his separation from the kingdom of God that, 
even though it is contracted from regenerated parents, it can 
be dissolved only as it was dissolved in them, by regeneration, 
and the prince of death can be cast out of the offspring only 
by that one remedy by which he was cast out of the parents. 
The quality of evil does not wander from substance to sub- 
stance as from place to place, leaving the place where it was, 
so that the same quality which formerly was here would 
now be there; rather, by a kind of contagion, another quality 
of the same kind is produced, as often happens when the 


diseased bodies of parents affect the body of their offspring. 
(56) What did you mean when you said: 'Closing the 
gymnasium of Aristotle and returning to sacred Scripture,' 
and added: 'Concupiscence is a sensation; it is not an evil 
quality. Therefore, when concupiscence is diminished, sense- 
perception is diminished." Is not the concupiscence of the 
flesh daily diminished through concupiscence for chastity 
and continence? Would you not agree that he who finds 
fornication less and less inviting is being healed of the 
disease of fornication, even though he broke with its works 
in a single resolve and never commits them again from the 
day he received the laver of regeneration? Again, would 
you not agree that a man baptized after a habit of drunken- 
ness, who never drinks to excess after that time, is daily 
being healed of that disease as he has less and less desire 
to drink than formerly? The sensation is not concupiscence, 
the sensation is that by which we perceive we have greater 
or lesser concupiscence. It is like the passions of the body, 
where pain is not a sensation; the sensation is that by which 
pain is perceived. Nor is the sensation disease, but that 
by which we perceive we have disease. If he who renounces 
fornication and drunkenness and refrains from such acts 
becomes good forthwith, and that by a good quality, should 
he not hear: 'Behold thou art cured. Sin no more,' 3 and 
deservedly be called chaste and sober? If, subsequently, 
by the impetus of the good concupiscence by which he bat- 
tles the evil concupiscence for fornication and drinking, 
he becomes such as he was not as yet at the time of his con- 
version, that is, experiencing fewer desires for sins, so that 
he no longer wages such combats against those evils as 
formerly not because virtues are diminished but because 
enemies are fewer; not in absence of battle but in increasing 
victory will you hesitate to pronounce him better? And 

3 John 5.14. 


whence, I ask you, except that the good quality has increased 
and the evil quality diminished? This he did after baptism; 
he did not fully accomplish it in baptism. Full remission 
of sins is completely accomplished in baptism, yet there 
remains an ever-watchful and ever-ready warfare for improve- 
ment against the many turbulent desires within ourselves. 
For this reason, even the baptized are told: 'Mortify your 
members which are on earth,' and: 'If by the spirit you 
put to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live,' and 'Strip 
off the old man.' 4 These things, then, are said in great accord 
with truth, with no reproach to baptism. 

(57) If you did not wish to be contentious, I think you 
would now see how correctly we understand what you are 
trying to explain differently. When the Prophet said: 'Who 
forgives all thy faults' something which is done by the remis- 
sion of all sins he immediately added: 'Who heals all thy 
diseases,' 5 he means us to understand the evils with which 
the saints will never finish their internal warfare until those 
evils are healed or, as far as possible in this life, progressively 
diminished. Not even when the virtue of chastity stands 
unshaken is there no sickness by which the flesh lusts against 
the spirit. When there is no sickness, the spirit does not lust 
against it, because it lusts in order at least by not consenting 
to obtain health, since it is unable to do so by not fighting. 
We are speaking of that whose resistance to us we perceive 
within us; if an alien nature, we must get rid of it; if our own, 
it must be healed. If we say it is an alien nature and must 
be got rid of, we agree with the Manichaeans. Let us, then, 
confess it is our own nature which must be healed, and thus 
we shall at the same time be clear of Manichaeans and 

4 Col. 3.5; Rom. 8.13; Col. 3.9. 

5 Ps. 102.3. 


Chapter 19 

(58) 'The wound inflicted on the human race by the 
Devil compels whatever is born through it to be under the 
Devil's power as though by right he plucked the fruit from 
his own branch.' 1 You quote these words from my book 
to refute them; you captiously suggest I say: 'The Devil 
is the author of human nature and the maker of the very 
substance in which man consists, 3 as though you could call 
a wound in the body a substance. Perhaps the reason you 
think I said the Devil is the creator of the substance is that 
in the simile I used the word 'branch,' and a branch is 
undoubtedly a substance. Why did you pretend to be so 
uninformed as not to know that things which are substances 
may be used as similes of things not substances? Perhaps 
by your dialectics you wanted to calumniate the words of our 
Lord: 'Every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree 
bears bad fruit.' 2 Who but one not knowing what he says 
would assert that badness is goodness, or good or evil works, 
which our Lord wants us to understand by the fruits of those 
trees, are substances? Who, if he knows what he is saying, 
will deny that trees and their fruits are substances? Thus 
we see that things which are substances have been used 
as similes of things not substances. If we regard the good 
and bad trees, not as the goodness and badness of man, but 
as the men themselves who are the subjects of these qualities, 
that is, goodness in the good, badness in the bad, so that 
the substances themselves, the men themselves, are to be the 
trees, it surely follows that only the inexperienced would say 
that their fruits (which are nothing other than their works) 
are substances, although none but the inexperienced would 
deny that fruits of all trees, from which the simile is taken, are 

1 De nuptiis 1.26. 

2 Matt. 7.17. 


substances. Thus, it is proper to use a substance as a simile 
of something not a substance. In this way I used correctly the 
simile of a substance for the fault which the Devil inflicted 
like a wound on the human race, although the fault is by 
no means a substance, in order that I might call it a branch 
and also speak of its fruits, meaning those faults with which, 
you denying but the truth proving, men are born and from 
which they will eternally perish from the kingdom of God 
unless they are reborn by the liberating truth. 

(59) I said the Devil is the corrupter, not the creator, 
of the substance. Through what he inflicted he subjected 
to himself what he did not create, the just God bestowing 
this power on him. He cannot withdraw from God's might 
either himself or what is subject to him, since the reason 
a second birth was instituted is that the first was condemned. 
Yet the goodness of God is shown even in this condemned 
birth, so that from the accursed seed a rational nature 
is formed, and by this most bounteous goodness the very 
great multitude of wicked men is most evidently nourished 
and is also given growth by a hidden work of God. If this 
goodness of God's action were withdrawn from the forma- 
tion and care of the seeds and from the quickening of living 
beings, not only would begetting not come to pass, but things 
already begotten would be reduced entirely to nothing. 
Since only foolish ungodliness would reproach God with 
the fact that men damnable because of their corrupted will 
are alive because He who quickens all things gives them 
life, why should we think it abhorrent to the works of Him 
who is the Creator of all things that men damnable in virtue 
of their corrupted origin are born by His creative power, and 
are elevated from this due condemnation when regenerated 
through the Mediator, and that, by mercy not due them 
but gratuitously bestowed on those whom He chose before 
the foundation of this world through election of grace, and 


not in view of works past, present, or future? Otherwise, grace 
is no longer grace. 3 This is most obvious in the case of infants, 
where we cannot speak of past works, since they did not 
exist; nor present, because infants do nothing; nor future, 
when they die in infancy. 

(60) I surely said: 'Just as sins that have passed in their 
action remain in their guilt; conversely, concupiscence can 
remain in its action and pass in its guilt.' 4 You say this is false; 
truth proves it true. Since you cannot refute it, you try 
to create confusion for the inexperienced by dialectics, saying 
you do not know in what system of logic I could have found 
the convertibility of all contraries. If I sought to explain 
your statement, especially for those who know nothing 
of dialectics, I would probably need a whole volume. But 
your words, 'The convertibility of all contraries cannot 
be found in any system of logic, 5 will suffice for the present, 
for here you show there can be conversion of some, not all; 
therefore, among the some, I find these. If you had said 
there can be no conversion of contraries, and thus shown 
the contraries I gave cannot be converted because none 
is convertible, I would have had to show that some can 
be converted and that those I named are among the some; 
that is, whether just as it is true that sins remain in their 
guilt, although they are past in their action, so it is true that 
concupiscence may remain in its action and pass in its guilt. 
In your desire to disprove this, you say something I did not 
say. I spoke of the concupiscence which exists in the members 
and wars against the law of the mind, 5 even though its guilt 
has passed in the remission of all sins; just as sacrifice offered 
to idols and thereafter not repeated is past in the action but 
remains present in its guilt unless remitted through pardon. 

3 Cf. Rom. 11.6. 

4 De nuptiis 1.28,30. 

5 Cf. Rom. 7.23. 


To sacrifice to idols is of such nature that, after the deed 
has been done, it itself passes, and when that same deed 
is past, its guilt remains present and must be remitted 
by pardon. The concupiscence of the flesh, however, is such 
that it remains in man warring against it through continence, 
even though its guilt, which was contracted by generation, 
has already been completely ended by regeneration. It remains 
in its action, not by drawing away and enticing the mind 
and with the mind's consent conceiving and bringing forth 
sins, but by arousing evil desires the mind must resist. For 
this excitement of desires is itself the action of concupiscence, 
even when, in the absence of the mind's consent, the effect 
does not follow. In addition to this action, that is, besides 
this stimulation, there is in man another evil, whence arises 
this stimulation which we call desire. There is not always 
a desire present for us to fight. There is no desire when there 
is nothing to be lusted after by the musing mind or by the 
senses of the body; but an evil quality, although not aroused 
by any temptation, may still exist in us, as timidity exists 
in a timid man when he is not frightened. When occasion 
for lusting arises, yet no evil desire is excited, not even against 
our will, we have full health. This fault, then, could not but 
hold man in guilt, even if he is born of chaste spouses by good 
use of the evil of concupiscence, and, although this evil 
remains, that guilt is removed through the grace of God 
by which we are delivered from all evil. For the Lord not 
only forgives all our iniquities, but also heals all our diseases. 
Recall what our Deliverer and Saviour Himself replied 
to those who told Him to leave Jerusalem: 'Behold, I cast 
out devils and bring perfect health today and tomorrow, 
and the third day I am to end my course.' 6 Read the Gospel 
and see how much later He suffered and rose again. Did 

6 Cf. Luke 13.32. 


He, then, lie? God forbid. He signified something relevant 
to our question. The expulsion of devils signified the remis- 
sion of sins; the production of perfect health is that made 
in progress after baptism; on the third day is the consumation 
He also showed us in the immortality of His own flesh, that 
is, the beatitude of incorruptible joy. 

(61) You mention sacrilegious sacrifice as an instance 
of what you mean, saying: 'Whatever comes under this head 
can be illustrated in a single case. If a man has once sacrificed 
to idols, he can be charged with the ungodliness of his deed 
until he obtains pardon, and the guilt remains after the 
action has ended. By no means,' you continue, 'can it hap- 
pen that the action remains and the guilt departs, so that 
in consequence he continues to sacrifice, yet is free from 
impiety.' What you say about sacrifice to idols is most true. 
It is an action fully accomplished in the deed itself, and, 
if it occurs again, it is another deed. But the ungodliness 
by which these deeds are done remains present until he 
renounces idols and believes in God. Sacrifice to idols is a pass- 
ing fact, not an enduring fault; but the ungodliness by which 
sacrifice was made resembles that concupiscence by which 
adultery is committed. Take away the error, however, which 
held ungodliness as godliness, and who will find pleasure 
in sacrificing to idols, or sense any desire to do so? Your 
instance is not really similar: passing sacrifice is in no way 
like that abiding concupiscence which, through constant 
stimulation to the unlawful desires chastity resists, still seeks 
to disturb one who no longer commits what he once by con- 
senting habitually committed; but now no more, when he is 
firmly fixed in the belief and knowledge that these things are 
not to be done. Knowledge does not put an end to concu- 
piscence, so that it does not exist; it must be restrained 
by continence and kept from reaching its goal. Sacrifice 
is no longer present in its action, since the action has passed ; 


it is not present in the will, for the error in which it was 
done has been removed; yet the guilt of it remains present 
until dissolved in the laver of regeneration by the remission 
of all sins. Conversely, though the guilt of evil concupiscence 
has been dissolved through that same baptism, concupiscence 
itself abides until healed with the medicine that brings per- 
fection, by Him who after casting out devils brought perfect 

(62) You yourself admit that guilt for past sin remains 
present unless washed away in the sacred font. What is this 
guilt and where does it remain in a man now reformed and 
living rightly, but not yet delivered by remission of sins? 
Is this guilt a subject, that is, a substance, like spirit and body, 
or is it in a subject, as fevers and wounds are in the body, 
and avarice and error in the soul? You will say it is in a sub- 
ject, since you will not call guilt a substance. In what subject? 
Why not quote your own answer? You say: 'When its action 
is past, its guilt remains present in the conscience of the 
offender until it is remitted.' It is in a subject, then, in the 
soul of him who remembers his transgression and is troubled 
by a scruple of conscience until relieved by the remission 
of the offense. If he forgets his transgression and is not stung 
by his conscience, where will this guilt be, since you concede 
it remains present after the sin is past until it is remitted? 
It is not in the body, because it is not one of the accidents 
proper to bodies; it is not in the soul, because it has been 
forgotten. Yet it is present. Where, then? This man is now 
living well, committing no sin; you cannot hold the guilt 
of sins remembered remains present, but not the guilt of those 
forgotten; it by all means remains until it is remitted. Where, 
then, does it remain except in the hidden laws of God written 
somehow in the minds of the angels; in order that there 
be no wickedness unpunished except what the blood of the 
Mediator expiates. By the sign of His cross the waves of bap- 


tism are consecrated so that they may wash away the guilt 
written as in a bond in the knowledge of the spiritual powers 
through which punishment for sins is required. All born 
carnally in the flesh of the flesh are born subject to this bond, 
to be freed from the debt of it by the blood of Him who was 
born in the flesh and of the flesh indeed yet not carnally 
but spiritually, for He was born of the Holy Spirit and the 
Virgin Mary. Of the Holy Spirit, that in Him there be no 
sinful flesh; of the Virgin Mary, that the likeness of sinful 
flesh be in Him. For this reason He did not fall subject to that 
bond, and He freed its subjects from it. For iniquity is not 
absent when in one man his higher powers serve the lower, 
or his lower powers rebelliously resist the higher, even when 
not permitted to prevail. If man suffered this iniquity from 
an external enemy, another man, it would not exist in him, 
and it would be punished apart from him. Since it is in him, 
then either he will be punished with it, or, if he has been 
delivered from its guilt, it remains to fight against the 
spirit not so that it will send him who is no longer guilty 
to any torments after death or estrange him from the kingdom 
of God or hold him under any condemnation; and again, 
not so that by separation as of an alien nature we lose 
it entirely; but, since it is a sickness of our nature, so that 
it may be healed in us. 

Chapter 20 

(63) Because of this fault, then, as I wrote in the book 
you are attacking, 'Human nature is condemned, and because 
of this which is the cause of the condemnation, it is also sub- 
ject to the condemned Devil, for the Devil himself is also 
an unclean spirit: good, indeed, because spirit; evil, because 
unclean. He is a spirit by nature, unclean by fault; of these 


two, the one is from God, the other from himself. Hence, 
men, adults as well as infants, are in bondage to him, not 
because they are men, but because they are unclean.' 1 You 
oppose these words from my book by saying: 'The formula 
found in the Devil should also apply to an evil man, so that 
none is condemned except from faults of his own will, and 
thus there can be no sin by way of origin. Otherwise,' you 
say, 'we cannot approve of the work of Him who made even 
the Devil good.' You fail to note that God did not create the 
Devil from another Devil, nor from another angel, who, 
though good, had that law in his members warring against 
the law of his mind, through which and with which every 
man is born of a man. This argument might help you if the 
Devil begat sons as man does, and we denied they were sub- 
ject to the paternal sin. As it is, however, it is something dif- 
ferent to talk about him who was a murderer from the begin- 
ning, because by misleading the woman he slew man at the 
beginning when man was made, and who through free choice 
did not stand in the truth, 2 and, falling, hurled man down 
with him; this, I say, is not the same as 'Through one man 
sin entered into the world and through sin death, and thus 
death has passed unto all men; in whom all have sinned.' 3 
These words clearly teach original sin common to all men, 
apart from the personal sins of each one. 

(64) 'Whoever marvels that a creature of God is subjected 
to the Devil, let him marvel no more, for a creature of God 
is subjected to a creature of God, the lesser to the greater.' 4 
When you quoted this statement of mine why did you not 
add my next words, showing that by the lesser to the greater 
I meant the human to the angelic unless in this mis- 

1 De nuptiis 1.25,16. 

2 John 1844. 

3 Rom. 5.12. 

4 De nuptiis 1.26. 


representation you saw an opportunity to introduce some 
Aristotelean Categories to the confusion of the inexperienced, 
who, in their ignorance, would mistake your obscurity for 
light. Your heresy has been reduced to the point where your 
followers sigh to find in the Church no dialectical judges 
of the Peripatetic and Stoic schools, who would acquit you, 
as you say. What point, what purpose, has your statement 
that 'greater and lesser belong in the class of finite quantity'? 
You say: 'Not only are contrary predicates incompatible 
in quantity a property it shares with quality and the other 
predicaments; it also has no contrary a property common 
by definition to quantity and substance. But good and evil 
are contraries. 5 You would never introduce this if you thought 
your readers or hearers would understand it. Does it follow 
that unclean man should not be subjected to unclean angel 
merely because the quantity by which an angel is greater 
than man is not only unable to have contrary predicates 
at the same time, but also has no contrary, as though man 
then should have been subjected to the Devil if he were 
found to be his contrary; and evils should not be subjected 
to evils merely because it seems only goods are contrary 
to evils, not evils to evils? How sterile the thought; how inept 
the conclusion. Is not a servant subject to his master; good 
servant to good master, and evil to evil, and evil to good, and 
good to evil? Is not a wife subject to her husband; good wife 
to good husband, evil to evil, and evil to good, and good 
to evil? Then, what has the compatibility or incompatibility 
of contrary predicates in this thing or that to do with the 
power or reason by which the one is subjected to the other, 
whatever they may be? You would not utter these inconsid- 
erate words if you cultivated the wisdom contrary to the folly 
that suggests them to you. 

(65) How shall we characterize your statement: 'If what 


is becomingly ordered is from God, and what is from God 
is good, then it is good to be subject to the Devil, for thus 
the order God instituted is observed'? You continue: 'It 
follows that is must be evil to rebel against the Devil, for 
this disturbs the order God instituted.' You could then say 
that farmers resist God and disturb His order by ridding 
the fields of the thorns and thistles God commanded them 
to bring forth to sinners. 5 If what is becomingly ordered is 
from God and is good, you could say by your reasoning 
that to be in Gehenna is a good for the evil, for thus the 
order instituted by God is observed. Why do you add: 'It 
follows that it must be evil to rebel against the Devil, foi 
this disturbs the order God instituted'? Why do you say 
this? Who rebels against the Devil unless he has been deli- 
vered from the Devil's power through the blood of the 
Mediator? It would have been better, then, not to have 
an enemy than to overcome him; but, because human nature 
was subjected to an enemy as the just desert of sin, man 
must first be rescued from his power, that he may fight 
him; then, if his life in this flesh is prolonged, he is assisted 
in the conflict that he may overcome the enemy; and finally 
the victor will be beatified, that he may reign, and at the 
very end he will ask: 'Death, where is thy devouring?' 6 or, 
in the words of the Apostle: 'Death, where is thy victory? 
Death, where is thy sting?' 7 

Chapter 21 
(66) You were at pains to quote some statements from 

5 Cf. Gen. 3.14. 

6 Osee 13.14. 

7 1 Cor. 15.55. 


the works of a Manichaean for comparison with my opinion, 1 
although I not only detest and condemn in faith and word 
the mixture of two natures, one good, one evil, from which 
springs their whole imaginary raving, but I also oppose it 
by resisting and refuting you, their supporter. When truth 
cries out against them, that evils come only from goods, you 
cry back, for them and with them, against the truth: 'The 
work of the Devil is not permitted to pass through the work 
of God 5 ; 'The root of evil cannot be located in the gift of 
God'; 'The reason in things will not permit evil to come 
from good or the unjust from the just'; 'Sins do not arise 
from a thing which is free from sin'; 'Guilt cannot be 
produced from a work which does not have guilt.' 2 From 
all these propositions we must conclude, as do the Mani- 
chaeans, that evils do not come from goods; hence, we must 
say evils come only from evils. How, then, can you accuse 
anyone of crime by calling him a Manichaean, and seem 
their adversary, when you are so dependent on them that 
you and they stand or fall together? We dealt with this 
matter somewhat more fully in Book 1 of this work, and 
more briefly in Book 5. 3 A few words more will suffice for 
the present. 

(67) I have often pointed out how much your heresy in 
general helps the Manichaeans, and how again this should 
not be passed by. The Manichaeans call our attention to 
the number of evils in infants, which Cicero also mentions 
in what I quoted above from his Republic: 4 ' Listing some 
of those evils, he says: 'Man has been thrust into these 
miseries by nature, more a stepmother than a mother.' To 

1 Long extracts from a letter by a Manichaean, quoted by Julian for 
the purpose named here, are reproduced by Augustine in Opus 
imperfectum contra Julianum 3.172-187. 

2 Cf. above pp. 45-54. 

3 Cf. above, pp. 298-299, 303-305. 

4 Cf. above, p. 218. 


this they add the many and various evils we see endured, 
not, indeed, by all infants, yet by a great many even to 
possession by devils. The Manichaeans conclude by saying: 
'Since God is just and omnipotent, whence does His image 
in infants suffer such evils unless there is really, as we hold, 
a mixture of two natures, good and evil?' Catholic truth 
refutes them by confessing original sin through which the 
human race was made the sport of demons and the progeny 
of mortals was destined to laborious misery. This would not 
be so if human nature through free choice had remained in 
the state in which it was first created. You who deny original 
sin must forthwith affirm God is either impotent or unjust, 
since under His power His image in infants, with no personal 
or original sin to deserve punishment, is afflicted with such 
evils; for they cannot cultivate virtue through them, as you 
correctly say about adults, who have the use of reason. 
Since you cannot say God is impotent or unjust, the Mani- 
chaeans will confirm against you their wicked error about 
a mixture of two substances mutually hostile to each other. 
Thus, it is not true that no fuller's herb can cleanse me of 
the Manichaean infection, as you say. By your petulant 
words you do injury to the laver of regeneration which I 
received in the bosom of my Catholic mother. The baneful 
poison of the ancient dragon has become so much a part 
of you that you not only label Catholics with the infamous 
name of Manichaeans, but by your perverse teaching you 
also help the Manichaeans themselves. 

Chapter 22 

(68) In another book addressed to Marcellinus, I said: 
'The children of the woman who believed the Serpent and 
was corrupted by lust are not liberated except through the 


Son of the Virgin who believed the angel and brought forth 
without lust/ 1 You quoted this as though I had said that 
the Serpent had intercourse with Eve, just as the Mani- 
chaeans in their madness say that their 'prince of darkness', 
who, they say, is the father of the woman herself, had lain 
with her. I made no such statement about the Serpent. 
Will you, contrary to the Apostle, deny that the mind of 
woman was corrupted by the Serpent? Are you not aware 
of the words of the Apostle: 'I fear lest, as the Serpent 
seduced Eve by his guile, so your minds may be corrupted 
and fall from a single devotion to Christ. 52 From this kind 
of corruption by the Serpent, then, also found when evil 
companionships corrupt good morals, the lust for sin entered 
into the mind of the woman, so that, when the man had 
also been corrupted by prevarication, that for which they 
blushed and covered the shameful parts followed in the 
flesh; not at the approach of the Devil in bodily union, but 
upon the departure of the spiritual grace of God. 

(69) Your whole argument has not, as you boast, 
rendered void my assertion of the evil of carnal concupi- 
scence and the existence of the original sin; yet marriage 
remains praiseworthy, since it uses well an evil not made 
by it, but one it found already present. Indeed, you have not 
overcome even the Manichaeans, whom you help more than 
hinder; you first, and also all the followers of the common 
Pelagian innovation and error. In Book 1 of this work I 
gave an abundant and more certain answer from the testi- 
monies of the Catholic treatises of St. Basil of Caesarea 
and St. John of Constantinople, although you say these are 
in accord with your opinion. 3 I showed how by failing to 
understand some of their words you, with remarkable blind- 

1 De peccatoruni mentis et remissione 1.28. 

2 Cor. 11.3. 

3 Cf. above, 1.5-6. 


ness, attack their teaching, which is the Catholic teaching. 
And in Book 2 I said enough to show it is no 'conspiracy 
of lost men,' 4 but the pious and faithful consensus of the 
holy and learned fathers of the Catholic Church which 
resists your heretical novelties, for the ancient Catholic truth. 
You say we offer 'the people's muttering alone' against you; 
but it is not alone, since it rests on the authority of very 
great teachers, and it is also just, because it does not wish 
you, who also know this very well, to destroy the salvation 
of infants, which is in Christ. 

Chapter 23 

(70) You say I explain incorrectly the whole chapter of 
the Apostle where he says: 'I know that in me, that is, in 
my flesh, no good dwells,' and the rest up to: 'Unhappy 
man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this 
death?' You exaggerate, since I am neither the first nor 
the only one to understand as it should be understood in 
truth this passage which destroys your heresy; indeed, at 
first I understood it in a different way, or, better, did not 
understand it, as some of my earlier writings will testify. 1 
I did not see how the Apostle could say: 'But I am carnal,' 
since he was spiritual, and how he was held captive under 
the law of sin in his members. 2 I thought this could be 
affirmed only of those so completely under the power of 
concupiscence that they must always do its bidding. It would 

4 Cf. above, pp. 35-37. 

1 The unsound earlier opinion is expressed in Ad Simplicianum 1. q. 1; 
Expositio epistolae ad Romanes, prop. 41,42; Expositio cpistolae ad 
Galatas 5. The better, later opinion is well expressed in De gratia 
Christi 45; Contra duos epistolas Pelagianorum 1.17-25; Retracta- 
tiones 1.23.24; 2.1; Contra Julianum 2.3. 

2 Cf. Rom. 7.14,18,24. 


be unreasonable to think this of the Apostle, since an in- 
numerable multitude of saints lust with the spirit against 
the flesh. Later on, I yielded to better and more enlightened 
minds, or, rather, to truth itself, and I heard in the words 
of the Apostle the groaning of the saints in their battle 
against carnal concupiscence. Although the saints are spiri- 
tually minded, they are still carnal in the corruptible body 
which is a load upon the soul. 3 They will, however, be 
spiritual also in body when the body sown animal will rise 
spiritual. 4 They are still prisoners under the law of sin, inas- 
much as they are subject to stimulations by desires to which 
they do not consent. Thus I came to understand this matter 
as did Hilary, Gregory, Ambrose, and other holy and re- 
nowned teachers of the Church, who saw that the Apostle, 
by his own words, fought strenuously the same battle against 
carnal concupiscences he did not wish to have, yet in fact 
did have. 5 You yourself have acknowledged that the saints 
engage in glorious combats against such stimulations, which 
must first be combated, lest they dominate; then, healed, 
that they may be entirely exterminated. 6 When we fight, we 
at once recognize the words of the fighters. In this way it 
is not we who live, but Christ lives in us, if, for waging 
war against concupiscences and for complete victory over 
our enemies, we trust in Him and not in ourselves. For 
'He has become for us God-given wisdom, and justice and 
sanctification, and redemption'; so that, as it is written: 
'Let him who takes pride take pride in the Lord.' 7 

(71) It is not, as you think, contradictory that he who 
says: 'It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me,' 
should also say: 'I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, no 

3 Cf. Wisd. 9.15. 

4 Cf. 1 Cor. 15.44. 

5 Cf. above, pp. 59-67. 

6 Cf. above, pp. 147-148. 

7 1 Cor. 1.30,31. 


good dwells.' 8 As far as Christ lives in him, so far does he 
attack and conquer, not good, but the evil dwelling in his 
flesh. No man's spirit lusts rightly against his own flesh 
unless the spirit of Christ dwells in him. God forbid, then, 
that we say what you accuse us of saying: The Apostle 
spoke as though pretending to resist, but being led to a 
harlot by the hand of deadly pleasure/ when he actually 
said: 'It is no longer I who do it, 59 to show that mere 
stimulation by lust, without consent to sin, really produces 
the concupiscences of the flesh. 

(72) Why do you try in vain 'to transfer these words to 
the pride of the Jews, as though the Apostle were identifying 
himself with those who despised the gifts of Christ as not 
necessary for them'? You yourself suspect this is true; would 
that you so understood those gifts of Christ as to believe 
they are at least of some avail in overcoming concupiscence. 
You say the Jews despised them, 'Because He pardoned sins 
which the law warned them to avoid/ as though the effect of 
the remission of sins were that man's flesh lust not against 
his spirit. 10 We have the words, 6 I know that in me, that 
is, in my flesh, no good dwells,' and similar statements. You 
are not departing from your teaching that the grace of God 
through Jesus Christ our Lord is concerned only with the 
remission of sins, and in such a way that it does not help 
us that we may avoid sins and overcome carnal desires, by 
pouring forth charity in our hearts through the Holy Spirit 
who has been given to us. 11 You forget that he who says: 
'I see another law in my members, warring against the law 
of my mind/ and that he can be delivered from this evil 
only by the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord, 

8 Gal. 2.20; Rom. 7.18. 

9 Rom. 7.17. 

10 Cf. Gal. 5.17. 

11 Rom. 5.5. 


is not a Jew, nor is he struggling because he has sinned, but 
lest he sin. 

(73) You asserted that 'The Apostle purposely exaggerates 
the forces of habit.' Does not one baptized battle against 
that force? If you deny it, you contradict all Christian ex- 
perience. But, if he battles, why not recognize the voice of 
the warrior in the words of the Apostle? You say: Through 
the good law and through the holy commandment wicked 
men acted savagely, because no amount of knowledge can 
inspire virtue if there is not the will.' Astute thinker! Out- 
standing interpreter of the divine words! What about the 
words of him who says: 'That which I will, I do not'; 'To 
wish is in my power'; 'I do that which I do not wish'; *I 
am delighted with the law of God according to the inner 
man.' You hear this and say there is not virtue because 
there is not will. There was not only the will, but also virtue, 
lest he consent with the concupiscence of the flesh which in 
these evil proddings was serving the law of sin. He did not 
yield to the stimulations, nor offer his members as weapons 
of iniquity; 12 yet, sensing what he did not wish, in his flesh 
lusting against the spirit, he said in truest chastity: 'I myself 
with my mind serve the law of God, but with my flesh the 
law of sin.' 13 You quote the Apostle's words: 'The law 
indeed is holy, and the commandment holy and just and 
good. Did then that which is good become death to me? By 
no means! But sin, that it might be manifest as sin, worked 
death for me through that which is good, in order that sin, 
by reason of the commandment, might become immeasurably 
sinful.' 14 This can well be understood of his past life when 
he was under the law, not yet under grace. He uses the 
past tense when he says: 'For I had not known sin save 

12 Rom. 6.13. 

13 Rom. 7.25. 

14 Rom. 7.12.17. 


through the Law'; and 'I had not known concupiscence'; 
and 'Sin worked in me all manner of concupiscence'; and 
'Once upon a time I was living without law' this when 
he was not yet able to use reason. Again: 'When the com- 
mandment came, sin revived, and I died'; and 'Sin, having 
taken occasion from the commandment, deceived me, and 
through it killed me' ; and 'That which is good became death 
to me.' In all these passages he refers to the time when he 
was living under the Law, and, not as yet helped by grace, 
was overcome by carnal concupiscence. When he says: 'The 
Law is spiritual, but I am carnal,' he shows what he suffers 
when now in the conflict. He does not say he had been 
carnal or he was carnal, but 'I am carnal.' He distinguishes 
the times more clearly when he says: 'It is no longer I who 
do it, but the sin that dwells in me.' It is no longer he who 
produces the evil desires with which he does not consent 
to commit sin. By the name of the sin that dwells in him 
he indicates concupiscence itself, because it was made by 
sin and, if it draws and entices one consenting, it conceives 
and brings forth sin. The next words of the Apostle, up to 
the words: 'Therefore I myself with my mind serve the law 
of God, but with my flesh the law of sin,' 15 are the words 
of one now under grace, but still battling against his own 
concupiscence, not so that he consents and sins, but so that 
he experiences desires which he resists. 

(74) None of us accuses the substance of the body; 
none accuses the nature of the flesh. Vainly you show the 
innocence of what we do not say is evil. We do not deny 
that evil desires of concupiscence are in us; but, if we live 
rightly, we do not consent to them. They must be chastised; 
they must be restrained; they must be attacked; they must 
be overcome nonetheless, they are with us, and they are 
not another's. Nor are they goods of ours, but evils. Mani- 

15 Rom. 7.7-25. 


chaean folly says they are distinct from us and outside us. 
Catholic truth says they have not been healed. 

Chapter 24 

( 75 ) With remarkable abandon madness, rather you at- 
tack that most fundamental teaching of the Apostle: 
'Through one man sin entered into the world and through 
sin death, and thus death has passed unto all men; in whom 
all have sinned.' In vain you offer a new interpretation, 
distorted and abhorrent, declaring that 'By these words he 
meant us to understand the one "in whom" (or "in which") 
all have sinned, as though he had said "because of which all 
have sinned, as it is said: "In what doth a young man cor- 
rect his way?" ' 3 By your reasoning, we must not hold that 
all men have sinned by way of origin in one man, as it 
were in common, in the oneness of the mass, but that all 
have committed their sins because of the sinful act of the 
first man, that is, when they imitate him, not when they are 
generated from him. 'In whom' (or 'in which') and 'be- 
cause of which' do not always admit of the same interpre- 
tation. A man commits a sin because of something he pro- 
poses to himself, with the result that he commits a sin, or 
because of what is somehow the cause of his sinning. It is 
most unreasonable to say: That because of which this parti- 
cular man committed a murder is Adam's eating fruit 
from the forbidden tree in Paradise when as a matter of 
fact he killed someone in a robbery without any thought of 

1 Cf. above, p. 9, note 8. This chapter merely shows the impossibility 
of the Pelagian reading of this text of Scripture; Augustine does not 
base his argument for the truth of his teaching on this text or on 
his special reading of it. 

2 Rom. 5.12. 

3 Ps. 118.9. 


Adam, but because of the gold he hoped to take from his 
victim. Every personal sin has a cause because of which it 
is committed, even if no one should think about what the 
first man did, either in itself or as an example. That because 
of which Cain committed his sin was not Adam's sinful act, 
although Cain knew Adam, his father. That because of 
which Cain killed his brother is well known; it was not 
because of what Adam did, but because he envied his 
brother's good. 

(76) The testimonies you cite do not support your theory. 
'In what doth a young man correct his way' may well be 
read as 'Because of what' does he accomplish this correction 
as is clear by the words that follow it: 'by observing thy 
words.' That because of which he corrects his way is his 
thinking about God's words as they should be thought about, 
and, in thinking about them, observing them, and, in observ- 
ing them, living rightly. Thus, his observing God's words is 
precisely the cause of his correcting his way. The words of 
most blessed Stephen, 'Moses fled in this word,' 4 may be 
properly understood as 'because of this word.' He heard 
it, he feared it, he thought about it, so that he fled; it was 
the cause of his flight. None of these expressions refers in any 
way to a kind of imitation in which one man imitates another 
without thinking of him at all. Therefore, that because of 
which someone sinned cannot be said to be the sinful act of 
another, if the sinner neither existed in that other by way 
of origin nor gave him any thought in his own sin. 

(77) You say: 'If Paul was talking about the transmission 
of sin, 5 it would have been more fitting to say that sin has 
passed to all men because all men have been generated of 
the pleasure of spouses; and he would have added that it 
passed to all men in that they have come from the corrupted 

4 Acts 7.24. 

5 Tradux peccati. 


flesh of the first man.' One might answer you that, in the 
same way, if the Apostle had been talking about the imita- 
tion of sin, it would have been more fitting to say that sin 
passed to all men because there had first been Adam's 
example; and he would have added that it passed to all men 
in that all have sinned by imitation of that one man. Now, 
the Apostle, if he had been talking for your or my approval, 
would have spoken in one of these two ways. Since he did 
neither, would you have us believe his words state neither 
original sin as Catholics teach, nor sin by imitation, as 
the Pelagians teach? I think not. Take away what can be 
proposed with equal force from either side, and, without 
arguing, consider what the Apostle says and note what he 
had in mind when he said it, and you will find through 
one man the wrath of God upon the human race, and through 
one man reconciliation with God for those who are delivered 
gratuitously from the condemnation of the whole race. The 
former is the first Adam, made from earth; the latter is the 
second Adam, made from a woman. There, however, the 
flesh was made through the Word; here, the Word Himself 
was made flesh, so that we might live through His death; 
forsaking whom, we died. The Apostle says: 'God commends 
his charity towards us, because when as yet we were sinners, 
Christ died for us. Much more now that we are justified 
in his blood shall we be saved through him from the wrath.' 6 
(78) Of this wrath he says: 'We were by nature children 
of wrath even as the rest.' 7 Of this wrath Jeremias says: 
'Cursed be the day wherein I was born.' 8 Of this wrath 
holy Job says: 'Let the day perish wherein I was born.' 9 
Of this wrath the same Job says again: 'Man born of a 
woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries. 

6 Rom. 5.8,9. 

7 Eph. 2.3. 

8 Jer. 20.14. 

9 Job 3.3. 


Who cometh forth like a flower and is destroyed, and never 
continueth in the same state. And dost thou think it meet 
to open thy eyes upon such a one and to bring him into 
judgment with thee? Who can make him clean that is con- 
ceived of an unclean seed? Not even one, although he lived 
but one day on the earth.' 10 Of this wrath the Book of 
Ecclesiasticus says: 'All flesh grows old like a garment; for 
the covenant of the world shall surely die' ; and again : 'From 
the woman came the beginning of sin, and by her we all 
die' ; and yet again : 'Great labor is created for all men, and 
a heavy yoke is upon the children of Adam from the day 
of their coming out of their mother's womb until the day 
of their burial into the mother of all.' 11 Of this wrath Ec- 
clesiastes says: 'Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity. What 
hath a man more of all his labor that he taketh under the 
sun? 12 Of this wrath the voice of the Apostle: 'Creation was 
made subject to vanity.' 13 Of this wrath the psalm laments: 
'Behold thou hast made my day measurable, and my sub- 
stance is nothing before thee. And indeed all things are vanity, 
every man living.' 14 Of this wrath another psalm also laments: 
'Things that are counted nothing shall their years be. In 
the morning man shall flourish and pass away; in the evening 
he shall fall, grow dry, and wither. For in thy wrath we 
have fainted away and are troubled in thy indignation. Thou 
hast set our iniquities before the eyes, our life in the light 
of thy countenance. For all our days are spent; and in thy 
wrath we have fainted away. Our years shall be considered 
as a spider.' 15 

(79) No man is delivered from this wrath of God unless 

10 Job 14.1-5 (Septuagint) 

11 Eccli. 14.18,12; 25.33; 40.1. 

12 Eccle. 1.2,3. 

13 Rom. 8.20. 

14 Ps. 38.6. 

15 Ps. 89.5-9. 


he is reconciled with God through the Mediator, wherefore 
the Mediator Himself says: 'He who is unbelieving towards 
the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon 
him.' 16 He did not say it will come, but 'it rests upon him.' 
Therefore, both adults, through their own heart and voice, 
and infants, through that of another, believe and confess 
so they may be reconciled to God through the death of His 
Son, lest the wrath of God rest upon them whom their 
vitiated origin makes guilty. The Apostle says: 'When as 
yet we were sinners, Christ died for us. Much more now 
that we are justified by his blood shall we be saved through 
him from the wrath. For if when we were sinners we were 
reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, 
having been reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. And 
not this only, but we exult also in God, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received recon- 
ciliation. Therefore as through one man sin entered into 
the world and through sin death, and thus death passed 
unto all men; in whom all have sinned. 5 The Apostle's pur- 
pose is quite evident. By all means deprive infants of that 
reconciliation which is made through the death of the Son 
of God who Himself entered into the world without sin, 
and thus let the wrath of God rest upon them because of him 
through whom sin entered into the world. Where is your doc- 
trine of imitation when you read : Tor the judgment was from 
one man unto condemnation, but grace is from many offenses 
unto justification'? 17 Why grace from many offenses unto 
justification, except because there were many other sins for 
grace to destroy all at once, besides that one sin of origin? 
Otherwise, there would be condemnation from many sins 
men committed by imitating the one, just as there is justi- 
fication from many sins, after the remission of which they 

16 John 4.36. 

17 Rom. 5.8-12,16. 


breathe again unto grace. But that one sin was enough, 
which, also, by itself sufficed for condemnation, while grace 
was not content to destroy only that one, but also all the 
additional sins, that justification might be made by the re- 
mission of all sins. Hence it is said: 'The judgment was 
from one man unto condemnation, but grace is from many 
offenses unto justification.' For, just as infants do not imi- 
tate Christ because they cannot do so, yet can receive His 
spiritual grace, so without imitating the first man, they are 
nonetheless bound by contagion from his carnal generation. 
If you hold they are strangers to the sin of the first man 
because they do not imitate him by their own will, by the 
same reasoning you estrange them from the justice of Christ 
because they do not imitate Christ by their own will. 

(80) Since you do not wish to understand the 'many 5 
he said later as meaning the 'all' he said first, you declare 
he said 'many' to keep us from thinking he meant 'all'. You 
could do likewise about the seed of Abraham to whom all 
nations were promised, 18 and say not all nations were pro- 
mised him, because we read in another passage: 'I have made 
thee a father of many nations.' 19 Sound thinking shows that 
Scripture speaks in this way because there can be an 'all' 
which are not 'many,' as we speak of all the Gospels, yet 
they are only four in number. There can also be 'many 5 
which are not 'all,' as we say many believe in Christ, yet 
not all believe; the Apostle says: 'All men have not faith. 520 
In the words, 'In your seed all nations will be blessed' and 
'I have made thee a father of many nations,' it is clear that 
the same nations that are all are also many, and the same 
that are many are all. Similarly, when it is said that through 
one, sin passed unto all, and later, that through the dis- 

18 Cf. Gen. 22.18. 

19 Hen. 17.5. 

20 2 Thess. 3.2. 


obedience of one, many were constituted sinners, those who 
are many are also all. In like manner, when it is said: 'By 
the justice of the one the result is unto justification of life 
to all men,' and again: 'By the obedience of the one many 
will be constituted just,' 21 none is excepted; we must under- 
stand that those who are many are all not because all men 
are justified in Christ, but because all who are justified can 
be justified in no other way than in Christ. We can also say 
that all enter a certain house through one door, not because 
all men enter that house, but because no one enters except 
through that door. All, then, are unto death through Adam; 
all unto life through Christ. 'As in Adam all die, so in Christ 
all will be made to live.' 22 That is to say, from the first 
origin of the human race, none is unto death except through 
Adam, and through Adam none is unto anything but death; 
and none is unto life except through Christ, and through 
Christ none is unto anything but life. 

(81) In abominable perversity you attack the Christian 
religion when you would have us think not all, but many, 
have been condemned through Adam or delivered through 
Christ. If some are saved without Christ, then some are 
also justified without Christ; therefore, Christ died in vain. 
For there must have been another way, as you wish, in 
nature, in free choice, in the law, natural or written, by 
which they who so wished could be saved and be just. Who 
but the unjust would bar the just images of God from the 
kingdom of God? Perhaps you will say it is accomplished 
more easily through Christ. Could you not also say this of 
the Law that there is justice through the Law, but more 
easily through Christ? Yet the Apostle says: 'If justice be 
by the Law, then Christ died in vain.' 23 Therefore, besides 

21 Rom. 5.12,18,19. 

22 1 Cor. 15.22. 

23 Gal. 2.21. 


the one Mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 24 
there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be 
saved. 25 For this reason it is said: 'In Christ all shall be 
made alive,' because in Him God has defined the faith for 
all, raising Him from the death. 26 By proclaiming the nature 
as guiltless, and the power of free will and the law, whether 
the natural law or the law given through Moses, your dogma 
would persuade men that there is indeed some need for 
Christ, yet it is not necessary to pass into Christ for eternal 
salvation, because, it says, the way through the sacrament 
of His death and resurrection is more commodious (if you 
grant that much), not because there cannot be another way. 
Considering, therefore, how much Christians ought to detest 
you, renounce your opinion even in our silence. 

Chapter 25 

(82) For the last and supposedly strongest argument for 
your case, you refer to the prophetic testimony of Ezechiel, 
were we read that there will no longer be a proverb in 
which they say the fathers have eaten sour grapes and the 
teeth of the children are on edge; the son will not die in 
the sin of his father nor the father in the sin of his son, 
but the soul that sins, the same shall die. 1 You do not under- 
stand that this is the promise of the New Testament and 
of the other world. For the grace of the Redeemer brought 
it to pass that He cancelled the paternal decree, 2 and each 
man shall account for himself. On the other hand, can 

24 Cf. 1 Tim. 2.5. 

25 Cf. Acts 4.12. 

26 Cf. Acts 17.31. 

1 Cf. Ezech. 18.2-4. 

2 Cf. Col.2.14. 


any one count the many passages in Scripture where sons 
are bound by the sins of their parents? Why did Ham sin 
and vengeance was declared against his son Chanaan? 3 
Why was the son of Solomon punished for the sin of Solomon 
by the breaking up of the kingdom? 4 Why was the sin of 
Achab, King of Israel, visited upon his posterity? 5 How do 
we read in the sacred books: 'Returning the iniquity of the 
fathers into the bosom of their children after them' and 
'Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto 
the third and fourth generation 5 ? 6 The number here can 
be taken for all the descendants. Are these statements false? 
Who would say this but the most open enemy of the divine 
words? The carnal generation even of the people of God 
of the Old Testament, which generates into bondage, 7 binds 
children for the sins of their parents; but, just as spiritual 
generation has changed inheritances, so it has also changed 
the threats and promises of punishments and rewards. The 
Prophets spoke these things, foreseeing in spirit; Jeremias 
even more clearly, when he said: c ln those days they shall 
say no more the fathers have eaten sour grapes and the 
teeth of their children are set on edge; but every one shall 
die for his own iniquity; every man that shall eat the same 
grapes, his own teeth shall be set on edge.' It is manifest 
that this was said in prophecy, just as the New Testament 
itself, at first hidden, and afterwards revealed through Christ. 
Finally, that we may not be disturbed by the words I have 
quoted and many others of like importance, about returning 
the sins of the parents upon the children words written 
truthfully, yet which might be thought contrary to this pro- 

3 Cf. Gen. 9.22-25. 

4 Cf. 3 Kings 12. 

5 Cf. 3 Kings 21. 

6 Jer. 32.18; Exod. 20.5. 

7 Cf. Gal. 4.24. 


phecy he solves this very vexed question by adding: 'Behold 
the days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will make a new 
covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of 
Juda, not according to the covenant . which I made with 
their fathers.' 8 In this new covenant through the blood of 
the Mediator, the paternal decree having been cancelled, 
man by rebirth begins to be no longer subject to the paternal 
debts that bind him at birth, as the Mediator Himself says: 
'And call no one on earth your father,' 9 inasmuch as we 
find another birth by which we shall not succeed our father, 
but shall live forever with the father. 

Chapter 26 

(83) If you are not too obstinate, Julian, I believe you 
will see I have answered and refuted all the arguments you 
have brought forth in your four volumes to show that we 
should not believe in original sin and that we cannot regard 
the concupiscence of the flesh as evil without also condem- 
ning marriage. It has been shown that he alone is not bound 
by the ancient paternal debt who has changed inheritance 
and father; where he who is himself adopted through grace 
discovers the sole co-heir who is heir through nature; that 
carnal concupiscence does not inflict death after death on 
him alone who in the death of Christ has found the death 
by which he dies to sin and escapes the death by which he 
had been born in sin. For, one died for all: therefore, all 
died; 1 and He died for all. Nor can there ever live any for 
whom He did not die, who, Himself alive, died for the 

8 Jer. 21.24-32. 

9 Matt. 23.9. 

1 Cf. 2 Cor. 5.14. 


dead. Denying these things, attacking them, trying to destroy 
these defenses of the Catholic faith and to rend the very 
sinews of the Christian religion and of true godliness, you 
dare assert you are waging war on the ungodly, when as a 
matter of fact you are using the weapons of ungodliness 
against the mother who gave birth to you spiritually. You 
dare join the line of the holy Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, 
martyrs, and priests, even when the Patriarchs say to you: 
Sacrifices for sins were offered even for new-born infants; 2 
and: Not even an infant of one day upon the earth is clean 
of sin; 3 when the Prophets say to you: We are conceived in 
iniquities; 4 when the Apostles say to you: 'All we who have 
been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his 
death, so that we are dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ 
Jesus'; 5 when the martyrs say to you: 'Those born carnally 
according to Adam contract the contagion of the ancient 
death in their first birth, so that not their own, but another's, 
sins are remitted for infants in baptism'; 6 when the priests 
say to you: 'Those formed in carnal pleasure come under 
the contagion of sins even before they experience the gift of 
this life.' 7 You presume to associate yourself with these men 
whose faith you seek to destroy. You say that any association 
with Manichaeans would conquer you, yet you have so 
strengthened them that you and they stand or fall together. 
You are mistaken, my son, wretchedly mistaken, if not also 
detestably mistaken. When you overcome the animosity that 
possesses you, you will possess the truth that has overcome you. 

2 Cf. Lev. 12. 

3 Cf. Job 14.5 (Septuagint) . 

4 Cf. Ps. 50.7. 

5 Rom. 6.3,11. 

6 Cyprian, Ep. 64 ad Fidum. 

7 Ambrose, De sacramento regenerationis. 



Abimelech, 140, 141 

Abraham, 124-126, 134, 135, 137, 
141, 391 

Achab, 255, 258, 259, 394 

accident, 18 

Adam, xiii, 5-44, 56-58, 76, 77, 
95, 96, 118, 124, 139, 152, 158, 
159, 201, 218, 234, 236, 240, 
293, 295, 296, 312, 316, 319, 
337, 386-388; as figure of 
Christ, 32, 40 

adultery, 47, 48, 80, 81, 120, 121, 
123, 132, 138, 141, 147-155, 
202, 283, 284, 288, 299, 365 

Albinus, 325 

Amasius, 254 

Ambrose, St., 10-13, 26, 36, 38, 
43, 52-54, 58-60, 65, 67-86, 92, 
94, 97, 99-101, 107, 132, 136, 
149, 267 n., 382, 396 n. 

Ammonianus, Bishop, 22, 39 

Anaxagoras, 231, 232 

Anaximander, 231 

Anaximenes, 231, 232 

angels, 45, 50, 52, 156, 187, 195, 
248, 255, 310, 376 

Apollinaris, 295, 296 

Aristotle, 13, 98, 102, 111, 235, 
291-293, 366 

Augustine, St., works: Contra 
duas epistolas Pelagianorum, 
105 n., 381 n.; Contra Fau- 
stum> 6 n.; De anima, 261 n.; 
De bono conjugali, 134 n.; 
De gratia Christi, 209 n., 381 
n.; De haeresibus, 270 n.; De 
natura et gratia, 250 n.; De 
nuptiis, xii, 105 n., 147 n., 159 
n., 163 n., 168 n., 169 n., 177 
n., 191 n., 210 n., 213 n., 244 
n., 247 n., 260 n., 263 n., 269 
n., 276 n., 277 n., 279 n., 283 
n., 286 n., 287 n., 289 n., 298 
n., 302 n., 309 n., 312 n., 320 
n., 324 n., 331 n., 345 n., 360 
n., 363 n., 368 n, 370 n., 375 
n.; De peccatorum mentis et 
remissione, 261 n., 295 n., 327 
n., 345 n., 380 n.; Opus imper- 
fectum contra Julianum, 137 
n., 295 n., 378 n.; Retracta- 
tiones, 292 n., 381 n. 


Balbus, 277 

baptism, 6, 8-10, 14-44, 71, 73, 
75-78, 83, 88, 93-97, 108, 112- 
115; a cross, 32-34; efficacy of, 
56-68; graces of, 204-206, 345- 
377; necessary, not superfluous, 
312; none saved without, 17, 
22, 28, 29, 39, 181; redeems 
from original sin, 286; remis- 
sion of sins by, 312-374 

Basil, St., 18-22, 26, 36, 39, 43, 
97, 136, 380 

Battifol, P., xii 

body, 20, 85, 88, 114-116, 118, 
120, 122, 123, 127, 201, 216- 
219, 236-240, 269-274, 280, 291, 
301; afflictions in the, 114- 
118, 180, 234, 262, 273, 292, 
294, 295, 308, 325; and genera- 
tion, 263-266, 268, 292 

Boniface, Pope, 344 n. 

Caecilianus, Bishop, 8 

Cain, 82, 387 

Calligonus, 348 

Camilius, 190 

Carthage, Conference of, 108, 

109, 114; Councils of, xi, xii, 


Catiline, 185, 190 
Quo, 281, 288 
Cayr<, F., xii 
Celestius, xi, 24, 99-101, 107, 108, 

114, 269, 323, 343, 344 
celibacy, 131-133, 144, 158, 269, 

270, 282, 300, 303; and con- 

cupiscence, 172-175; see also 
continence; virginity 

Cetura, 126 

Chanaan, 394 

chastity, 20, 76, 80 n., 81, 87, 91, 
102, 131-133, 136, 143-145, 158, 
164, 168, 190, 191, 210-212, 
250, 269-271, 274, 281, 303, 

Christ, as God and man, 295; 
Incarnation of, 9, 10; as liber- 
ator of infants, 6, 25, 28, 107, 
116, 159, 180, 313; as Medi- 
ator, 15, 16, 85 n., 177, 197, 
235, 258, 262, 287, 308, 316, 
362, 369, 373, 377, 390-393; 
name of, 37; not of this world, 
310, 311; as Physician, 242, 
273; as Samaritan, 10, 38; as 
Saviour, 16, 26, 37, 112, 114, 
122, 135, 242, 275, 277, 308, 
310,371; Son of God, 7 n., 20 

Chromatius, Bishop, 22, 39 

Cicero, 101, 183 n., 216-219, 223 
n., 229, 234, 235, 266, 275 n., 
284 n., 341 n., 342 n., 352 n., 

circumcision, and baptism, 77, 
78, 138, 139, 287, 327-330 

Clematius, Bishop, 22, 39 

Clement of Alexandria, 223 n. 

concupiscence, 61-65, 72-81, 85 
n., 91,94-96, 119, 130-134, 138, 
161, 309, 311, 381; compared 
to idolatry, 371-373; and gen- 
eration, 198; a good only in 


beasts, 231; in infants, 312- 
374; invariably evil, 130-158, 
169-176, 220-232; and mar- 
riage, 5, 6, 265-305; not in 
Christ or Mary, 293-296; over- 
come by grace, 162-166, 273, 
274; see also grace; marriage; 
original sin 

continence, 74, 75, 79, 150, 151, 
161, 172, 203, 221, 222, 250, 
270; see also celibacy; virginity 

conscience, 242, 243, 282 

Cynics, 232 

Cyprian, St., 7, 8, 26, 28, 62, 65, 
67, 77, 86, 87, 91, 97, 101, 103, 
135, 136, 396 n. 

Damasus, Pope, 344 

David, 11, 60, 75, 79, 108, 267, 

death, 29, 32-34, 40, 63-65, 67, 
273, 280 

Democritus, 231 

Devil, 7, 11, 16 n., 19, 28, 32, 
38, 40, 49, 50, 56-60, 67, 69, 
70, 72, 86, 97, 102, 114, 116, 
117, 123, 124, 128, 138, 148, 
168, 169, 181, 193, 198, 199, 
202, 222, 223, 239, 248, 253, 
256, 261, 272, 280, 308-311, 
331-336, 339, 347, 368-380; not 
author of men and marriage, 
111, 112, 121, 122, 137, 152, 
156-159, 201, 242, 270, 271 

Dinomachus, 233, 359 

Diogenes, 232 
Dionysius, 292 
Diospolis, Council of, xi 
Donatism, xi, 109, 110, 135 
Donatus, 8 

Eleutherius, Bishop, 22 

Empedocles, 231 

Epicureanism, 148, 149, 187, 233, 
274, 352 

Eulalius, 344 n. 

Eulogius, Bishop, 22, 39 

Eutonius, Bishop, 22, 39 

Eve, 7, 11, 19, 21, 38, 39,75,76, 
160, 236, 380 

evil, 56, 60, 66-68, 92,95,96, 118, 
145, 150, 154-156, 170, 174, 
176, 202, 204, 250, 262, 263, 
272, 273, 290, 293, 299, 300, 
304, 307, 308, 340, 361, 365, 
367; constraint of, 341, 342; 
and good, 44-54, 118-121, 137- 
140; nature and origin of, 16- 
24, 44-54; see also sin; vice 

exsufflation, 16, 22, 116, 320 

Fabius, 190 

Fabricius, 181, 190 

faith, 6, 250; and justice, 18-195; 

and true chastity, 210-212 
Fidus, Bishop, 22, 39 
first-born, 7, 257 
first-formed, 7, 9 
Fundanius, 325 

generatio f 40 n. 


generation, 12, 34-41, 58, 75, 77, 
81, 94, 119-128, 133, 145, 147, 
148, 154, 155, 159, 160, 166, 
168, 198-203, 261 n., 263-266, 
279, 280, 284, 286, 288, 290, 
296, 298-304, 312, 324, 345, 
346, 361, 362, 365-367 

Good, Supreme, 44, 45, 51, 54, 
59, 251 

grace, 8, 17, 19, 32-34, 41, 56-67, 
75, 78, 82-85, 87, 91, 95, 105 n., 
107, 129, 137, 248, 257, 268, 
391; anticipates will, 204; and 
baptism, Pelagian view of, 112- 
114; fatalism and, 204-209; 
gratuitousness of, 150, 151, 
178, 203; makes will effica- 
cious, 178, 179; only man 
merits, 178, 207, 208; over- 
comes concupiscence, 162-166, 
273, 274; and will, 178-188, 

Gregory Nazianzen, St., 16-18, 22 
n., 26, 39, 63-65, 67, 91, 97, 
100, 101, 103, 136, 382 

Ham, 394 

happiness, natural desire for, 

183, 184 
Heraclitus, 231 
Hilary, St., 9, 26, 38, 65, 87-91, 

97, 100, 101, 103, 136, 382 
Horace, 185 n., 245 n. 

112-115, 128, 129, 138; birth 
of, no evil, 147, 148; and or- 
iginal sin, 168, 314-341; and 
wisdom, 262, 263; see also bap- 
tism; concupiscence; genera- 
tion; original sin 

Innocent I, Pope, xi, 14, 15, 26, 
39, 97, 101, 103, 136 

Irenaeus, Bishop, 7, 37, 38, 101, 
103, 136 

Isaac, 127, 128, 138, 139 

Ishmael, 126 

Isidore, 127 n. 

Jacob, 292 

Jerome, St., 42, 97, 101, 103, 136 

Joas, 254 

John Chrysostom, St., xi, 25-31, 
34-36, 39-43, 97, 101, 103, 136, 
316 n., 380 

Jonas, 42 

Joseph, St., 287 

Jovinian, 6 

Jovinus, Bishop, 22, 39 

judgment, divine, 247-256, 279, 
280; mankind, 139, 308, 31G, 
337, 353-357 

jus liberorum, 127 

justice, 308, 313, 320, 335, 336; 
and faith, 180-195; and God, 
180, 182, 207, 208, 242-244, 
256, 257, 285; and ignorance, 
140, 141; and mercy, 140; and 
providence, 117, 118 

infants, 116, 117; baptism of, Lazarus, 28, 29, 40 


Leucippus, 231 
loin-cloths, 76, 77, 245-247 
Lord's Prayer, 62, 63, 107, 170, 

194, 259, 283 
Lucan, 281 n., 288 n. 

Manichaeism, xi, 4-6, 13-20, 
24, 27, 28, 30, 36, 42-55, 62, 
63, 71, 91, 108, 128, 135-137, 
163, 212, 268, 270, 271, 298, 
299, 303, 304, 308, 367, 37& 
380, 385, 396 

Marcellinus, 295, 327, 379 

marriage, 6, 47, 48, 56-60, 93, 
94, 119-128, 134, 158; and con- 
cupiscence, 5, 198-203, 210- 
212, 223, 265-290, 298-305; and 
desire for children, 285, 286; 
does not require activity of 
concupiscence, 155-158, 161, 
215, 216; goodness in, 117, 
119-123, 133, 134, 148, 152-158, 
165, 166, 176, 202, 278, 279, 
298-305, 379-381; moderation 
in, 80,81,94, 96, 131, 132, 142, 
150, 172, 203, 282, 283; pur- 
pose of, 298-304; remedial as- 
pect of, 144, 170; see also con- 
cupiscence; generation 

Mary, Virgin, 6, 7, 374, 380; did 
not transmit concupiscence, 
293-295; marriage of, 287-289; 
see also virgin birth 

Maximianists, 110 

Melchiades, Bishop, 8 

Melissus, 231 

Memor, 13 

mercy, 195, 196; of God, 69, 84, 

90, 91, 129, 135, 204, 208, 258- 

260, 345, 369 
Milevis, Council of, xi 
modesty, 80 n., 270; conjugal, 

169-177, 198, 199,210-212,214, 

215, 217 
Moses, 32, 316, 387 

natura, 44 n. 

naturale, 44 n. 

nature, 44-54, 59, 63, 69, 70, 78, 
93, 117, 119, 124, 128, 148, 
153-157, 180, 184, 193, 218, 
232-235, 258, 297, 303, 304; 
perfectibility of, by grace, 162, 
166; vitiation of, by the first 
sin, 117, 118, 124, 128, 129 

Novatians, 59 

Nymphidius, Bishop, 22, 39 

olive, wild, 324, 325, 327, 330 

Olympia, 28 

Olympius, Bishop, 8, 38, 97, 101, 

103, 136 
origin, 57 n. 
originate, 57 n. 

Parmenides, 231 

Paternians, 270, 271 

Pelagianism, xi-xviii, 5, 13, 28, 
30 n., 36, 40, 41, 43, 64, 74, 
91 n., 98-101, 107, 108, 112, 
136, 149, 150, 173, 200, 203, 
236, 245, 267, 298, 327, 344, 
367, 380, 386 n., 388 


Pelagius, 15, 22-24, 36, 39, 98- 
101, 107-109, 114, 129, 269, 

Peripatetics, 376 

Persius, 268 n. 

Pius IX, Pope, 134 n. 

Platonism, 13 n., 43, 79, 94, 98, 
181, 229, 231, 233, 234 

pleasure, 222-231, 365-367 

Plutarch, 288 n. 

Polemo, 13, 43 

Porphyry, Bishop, 22, 39 

Prat, F., 9 n. 

prayer, 62, 84, 145; see also 
Lord's Prayer 

predestined, 180, 256-258, 307 

Primian, 110 n. 

Providence, 81, 82, 85, 118, 124, 
125, 138, 143, 147, 156-158, 
166, 339, 350; see also Christ, 
as Mediator; as Saviour 

pudicitia, 80 n. 

punishment, deserved, 240; di- 
vinely inflicted, 247-256, 259, 
280, 286; eternal, 189, 190; 
and pagan philosophers, 235, 
240; see also, body, afflictions 

Pythagoras, 181, 231, 266, 267 

reason, 66, 68, 98, 102, 199, 243 

redemption, 6, 58, 78, 82-93, 112, 

114, 116, 122, 128, 129, 139, 

148, 290, 291, 298, 302, 312, 

389-393; see also Christ 

Regulus, 181, 190 

repentance, 256-260 

Reticius, Bishop, 8, 38, 97, 101, 

103, 136 
Roboam, 254, 259 

Sallust, 107, 185 n. 

Sara, 124-126, 134, 135, 137, 140, 

Saul, King, 196, 248, 267 

Scipio, 181, 183, 190 

Scripture, Holy, citations from, 
or references to: 
Acts, 157, 189, 387, 393 
Colossians, 315, 328, 331, 340, 

348, 367, 393 

1 Corinthians, 10, 19, 26, 63, 
79-81, 85, 121, 132-134, 145, 
150, 168, 170, 181, 182, 228, 
236, 263, 281, 283, 299, 304, 

314, 319, 324, 332, 335, 343, 
346, 349, 357-359, 377, 380, 
382, 392 

2 Corinthians, 3, 67, 71, 86, 
102, 154, 175, 193, 248, 312, 

315, 323; 333, 337, 346, 348, 

349, 357, 395 
Daniel, 273 
Ecclesiastes, 389 
Ecclesiasticus, 57, 113, 115, 
118, 139, 162, 180, 218, 224, 
253, 275, 280, 294, 308, 320, 
326, 337, 348, 389 
Ephesians, 68, 90, 129, 194, 
257, 340, 388 

Exodus, 196, 394 


Ezechiel, 255, 393 

Galatians, 20, 62, 97, 130, 151, 

161, 168, 182, 196, 199, 212, 

229, 262, 271, 272, 336, 347, 

359, 383, 392, 394 

Genesis, 21, 29, 50, 72, 76, 77, 

82, 124, 138, 140-142, 160, 186, 

212, 213, 217, 226, 238, 239, 

245, 261, 267, 287, 292, 329, 

330, 377, 391, 394 

Hebrews, 189, 195, 212, 278, 


Isaias, 57, 83, 121, 180, 253 

James, 149, 170, 208, 259, 297, 


Jeremias, 267, 388, 395, 396 

Job, 58, 88, 89, 96, 149, 290, 

388, 389, 396 

John, 15, 17, 27, 77, 88, 109, 

113, 118, 129, 188, 207, 258, 

287, 304, 309-311, 318, 345, 

347, 349, 366, 375, 390 

1 John, 87, 146, 147, 149, 170, 

194, 220, 221, 230, 272, 299, 

310, 336 

Josue, 254, 337 

1 Kings, 196, 248, 267 

2 Kings, 337 

3 Kings, 254, 255, 259, 394 
Leviticus, 287, 396 

Luke, 10, 11,68,193,202,284, 
289, 345, 353, 362, 371 
2 Machabees, 294 
Mark, 117, 312, 338 
Matthew, 3, 16, 19, 21, 46, 47, 
49, 56, 83, 88, 96, 107, 114, 

131, 141, 149, 170, 186, 188, 
192, 195, 197, 201, 204, 223, 
257, 259, 282, 283, 285, 286, 
289, 290, 296, 297, 304, 319, 
352, 353, 368, 395 
Micheas, 255 
Osee, 248, 377 
2 Paralipomenon, 254 

1 Peter, 58, 114, 283, 297, 342 

2 Peter, 253, 257 
Philippians, 178, 179 
Proverbs, 54, 87, 106, 179, 183, 
207, 299 

Psalms, 9-12, 37, 38, 57, 58, 
60, 75,84, 85,89, 90, 106, 114, 
129, 149, 150, 174, 177, 187, 
204, 208, 242, 248, 255, 256, 
259, 319, 323, 344, 349, 357, 
367, 386, 389, 396 
Romans, 9, 20, 26, 27, 32, 40, 
41, 60, 72-74, 78, 92, 95, 107, 
115, 124, 126, 131, 137, 139, 
141, 142, 153, 160-164, 170, 
174, 178, 180-182, 188, 189, 
192, 196, 205, 207, 208, 210, 
212, 234, 244, 246, 248, 252, 
255-257, 262, 268, 271, 272, 
275, 277, 279, 291, 293, 312- 
316, 319, 322, 328, 330-332, 
337, 344, 346, 349, 350, 352- 
355, 364, 367, 370, 375, 381, 
383-386, 388-390, 392, 396 

1 Thessalonians, 80, 215, 278 

2 Thessalonians, 254, 391 

1 Timothy, 95, 204, 304, 393 

2 Timothy, 206, 256, 257 


Tobias, 11 

Wisdom, 20, 138, 182, 193, 244, 

279, 285, 307, 346, 350, 358, 


sensation, 222-231, 347, 348, 366 

Septuagint, 54, 57, 179, 207, 290, 
299, 389, 396 

shame, 76, 77, 124, 163, 212-222, 
235-240, 244-247, 269, 270, 277 

sin, 5, 8, 11, 12, 16, 17, 23-27, 
30-32, 34, 39, 50, 58, 59, 64- 
67, 70-73, 79, 85 n., 90, 95, 
96, 138, 149, 153, 173, 191, 
192, 231, 242, 274, 333-336; 
and punishment, 243-256: re- 
mission of, by baptism, 312- 
362; visited on children, 393- 

sin, original, 5-44, 47, 50, 55-64, 
69,81,82,93,97, 113, 116, 122, 
141, 153, 198, 218, 253, 290, 
312-396; and baptism, 159, 
162; concerns moral philo- 
sophy, 232-235; distinct from 
personal sin, 25-35; a super- 
natural mystery, 140, 141; vol- 
untary character of, 137-140; 
see also baptism; redemption 

Sodom, 142, 143, 286 

Solomon, 394 

Soranus, 292 

soul, 63, 69, 85, 114-116, 118, 
177, 184, 193, 194, 199, 261 n.; 
origin of, 261, 262, 294; Plato 
on, 79 

Spirit, Holy, 10, 12, 14, 25, 39, 
57, 64, 86, 113, 129, 161, 198, 
260, 279, 311, 317, 349, 374, 

Stephen, St., 387 

Stoics, 112,216, 229,233,376 

substance, 18, 19 

Terence, 240 n. 
Thales of Miletus, 231 
Thomas Aquinas, St., 80 n., 85 

n., 181 n., 261 n. 
Trinity, 44, 243 
Turbanus, 135 

Ulpian, 127 n. 
Ursicinus, 344 

Valentinian, 348 

Valerius, Count, xiii 

Venustians, 270, 271 

vice, 64, 69, 70, 80, 84, 86, 87, 

179-188, 307; see also evil; sin 
Virgil, 136 n., 224, 225, 321 n., 

330 n. 
Virgin birth, 6, 7, 10, 12, 58, 65, 

66/70, 94, 97, 293 
virginity 144, 145, 172, 210, 268, 

300, 303, 365; see also celibacy 
virtue, 30, 32, 59, 63, 67, 91, 140, 

141, 149, 150, 163-165, 177, 

181, 199; and justice, 181; true 

and false, 179-197, 211 
virtus, 32 n. 
vitium, 44 n. 


will, 18, 19, 30 n., 39, 41, 45, Xenocrates, 13, 43 

56, 57, 62, 66, 69, 105 n., 107, Xenophanes, 231 
116, 140, 153, 162, 176, 193, 

195, 278-282, 337; body sub- Zoboennus, Bishop, 22, 39 

ject to, 263, 274; and grace, Zoninus, Bishop, 22, 39 

178-188, 203-212; and punish- Zosimus, Pope, xii, 14, 15 n., 343, 
ment, 344, 345 344